An effort to help Ford Motor Co.'s Ford brand win a tight sales race against Chevrolet could cost financially strapped auto parts maker Visteon Corp. more than $8 million, according to the Detroit News on November 4. Visteon CEO Michael Johnston e-mailed the supplier's approximately 8,100 U.S. salaried workers offering them a $1,000 cash bonus on top of their existing employee discounts if they buy or lease a 2004 Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, or Mazda model. The offer begins today and runs through Dec. 31. Visteon employees who take advantage of the deal will receive the $1,000, minus applicable taxes, in their paycheck. The offer follows recent moves by Ford and Chrysler to entice workers and their family and friends to purchase more vehicles through employee discount programs. Last week, Ford informed more than 200,000 employees and retirees that they can now share special discounts with six people, up from four. The Ford and Visteon employee discount is 4 percent below the invoice price dealers pay for a vehicle. DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group also gave its workers an additional vehicle discount to pass out to friends. Delphi Corp. launched a similar employee discount arrangement with GM a year ago. Employees receive vouchers they can redeem for additional company discounts, said Delphi spokeswoman Luce Rubio. The program will be extended for another year, starting today. The note to Visteon employees followed a rally at the supplier's new Van Buren Township headquarters, where Johnston and Ford Executive Vice President Greg Smith formally announced the offer - called the One Grand Plan. "This program ... is aimed at helping Ford sell more vehicles than Chevrolet for the 2004 calendar year," Johnston said in the memo, which was obtained by the Detroit News. "It's a great way for Visteon employees to show their support for our largest customer and benefit from outstanding savings." Visteon will pay for the cost of the bonuses, said company spokesman Jim Fisher. "We have a lot of content in Ford vehicles," he said. "If Ford vehicles sell, it's good for Visteon."