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Blue Oval is tops, dealer declares

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To the Editor:

Your Nov. 26 editorial "Factory stores fade; now Ford must fix Blue Oval" is off the mark.

I am disappointed that you have not done your usual homework. Blue Oval has been our dealership's single biggest boost to process improvement and profitability. Our Voice of the Customer score (the new term for customer satisfaction) has improved significantly, even though our customer satisfaction always exceeded district averages.

Our new-car and -truck grosses are identical to pre-Blue Oval, and our additional retention from this program will be in excess of $600,000 for 2001.

Fact-checking will confirm that my experience is similar to that of the 3,600 dealers who have been Blue Oval certified. Collectively, they will retain about $750 million to $800 million this year.

I was puzzled by your comment about the Chrysler group's Five Star program striking the right balance (I am a Chrysler group dealer as well). The process portion of Five Star is excellent, but Chrysler has cut back vehicle margins across the board and eliminated certain fuel, advertising and floorplan assistance payments that amount to about $330 per vehicle. You may earn some of that money back by hitting certain volume objectives.

In the past year, Ford dealers have improved 15 points in the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Satisfaction Index while Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge have declined.

Blue Oval simply is about responsibility and accountability to a dealer's two largest constituent groups, its customers and employees.

I hope Ford Motor Co. does not dismantle Blue Oval in the name of dealer relations. That would be expedient and unfortunate.

I caution the very vocal minority of anti-Blue Oval dealers to be careful what they ask for - they might get it.

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