Ford to help dealers renovate
Photo credit: JOE WILSSENS
LAS VEGAS -- Ford brand unveiled its Facilities of the Future program to dealers at the make meeting.
Ford will offer dealers financial help to improve their stores in line with Ford's Trustmark Design standard. Ford was to have sent letters to dealers last week with details.
Jim Farley, Ford's global marketing boss, said Ford's program, and a similar one for Lincoln dealerships, will be voluntary.
Jeff Carlson, owner of two Ford dealerships in western Colorado, applauded the program, but said he was waiting to learn more details from the letter.
"We'll see that in the letter that comes out," Carlson said. "This may be exciting to dealers who have been withholding investments. It's going to be voluntary and collaborative."
Carlson credited Ford with taking action on facilities improvements, a hot-button industry issue.
"It's showing the dealers that they're looking forward. They're looking prospectively to help dealers have a better face. It will be done collaboratively with dealers. You can talk with them about how the facility is going to look," he said.
Farley also said Ford dealers had record profits in 2011, fueled by low interest rates, low inventory-financing costs and high used-car prices.
"Their borrowing costs to hold inventory of new and used cars were down. When you add all that up, you can see why we had record profits even in a 13 million industry," Farley said.
Ford also said it would bolster its certified pre-owned program.
Ken Czubay, Ford's U.S. sales boss, said, "We're offering a cadence of support in terms of marketing and merchandising to consumers."
You can reach Bradford Wernle at firstname.lastname@example.org.