A new King James Bible, an American flag and a 12-gauge shotgun.
That’s what Chatom Ford promised if you buy a new or pre-owned ride from Chatom Ford in Alabama, an auto dealership about an hour’s drive north of Mobile. The Fourth of July promotion went viral since it was posted on the dealership’s Facebook page June 19, clocking in 20,000 views as of Wednesday afternoon.
But on June 26, around 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, the local dealership posted a statement on its Facebook page saying Ford Motor Company asked them to stop advertising it.
“We were running a promotion celebrating this country’s independence,” the post reads. “[Ford Motor Company] manufacture(s) the products we are franchised to sell, so we are complying with their request. We appreciate everyone’s support. All the phone calls and messages were so greatly appreciated. We will fulfill all commitments we made to our customers.”
Ford Motor Company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The video showed general sales manager Koby Palmer explaining the deal, which was scheduled to run through July 31, then pumping a shotgun. It has since been deleted from the Facebook page.
Palmer said dealership managers came up with the promotion while brainstorming ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in a way that reflected the community’s values.
“They love their faith, they love their country, and they love to hunt,” he said.
Prior to the corporate request to stop advertising it, the local dealership received overwhelmingly positive feedback, Palmer said. The dealership has averaged about one sale a day since the promotion was announced, as of June 26.
One of those customers is Josh Lankford of Gulf Shores, Alabama. He had already contacted Palmer about what he was looking for when the promotion came up. Lankford said he saw the gifts with purchase as a nice bonus to his new pickup.
“It circles back to the great service and sales team that they have,” Lankford said. “It’s great that they try to reflect the community’s values.”
As for the firearms, the dealership partnered with a local Chatom dealer, Andrews Ace Hardware and Seed Store, and the Athletic Locker in Waynesboro, Mississippi, Palmer said. When participants in the deal bought a vehicle, they were handed a gift certificate to redeem at either of the dealers to get their firearm, after going through the necessary background checks (which depend on the customer’s state of residency).
“Obviously, we’re not just running around willy-nilly and giving everybody a shotgun,” Palmer said.
He wanted to make it clear that the dealership isn’t trying to push a political agenda.
“This is something just to promote our little community and things they hold dear to their heart,” Palmer said. “We love everybody regardless of race, creed and religion, and we want everybody to come in and let us love on them a little bit.”