DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said its luxury Jaguar and Land Rover brands will no longer advertise in gay publications, but the nation's second-largest automaker denied it made the decision under pressure from conservative Christian groups.
''The decisions with regard to advertising was a business decision," spokesman Mike Moran said yesterday. He said Ford's Volvo brand would continue to advertise in gay publications. Ford has not advertised Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury brands in such publications, he said.
Moran said Jaguar and Land Rover, part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, have cut back on their advertising everywhere because of difficult market conditions. The group reported a pretax loss of $108 million in the third quarter. ''They feel pressure on their marketing budgets, so they decided to streamline marketing across the board," Moran said.
Moran refused to say how much Ford has spent on ads in gay publications.
Ford's move came nearly a week after the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association canceled a boycott of Ford vehicles that began in May, when the group criticized Ford for being too gay-friendly.
''We are ending the boycott of Ford," association chairman Donald Wildmon said in a Nov. 30 statement on the group's website. ''While we still have a few differences with Ford, we feel that our concerns are being addressed in good faith and will continue to be addressed in the future."
The group had complained that Ford gave thousands of dollars to gay rights groups, offered benefits to same-sex couples, and actively recruited gay employees.
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and other gay rights groups expressed concern there was a deal between Ford and the AFA. ''If there is an agreement with AFA, we expect Ford to disavow it. We expect Ford to publicly reaffirm its historic support for our community," the groups said in a statement.