Why Ford is playing:
To make distribution cheaper and create an atmosphere of respectful selling.
'Anywhere from 18 to 25 percent of the transaction price is in distribution costs,' says Robert Rewey, Ford group vice president of marketing, sales and service.
Consolidate all Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda stores in a market under single ownership group.
Build multibrand superstores with large inventories.
Switch to one-price selling.
Open satellite service centers with extended hours to compete with quick-oil-change shops.
Encourage Internet communications.
Cut advertising costs.
Build a national Auto Collection retail name.
Why it might not work:
Many customers resist one-price selling.
Dealerships lose entrepreneurial owners.
View from the top:
'The Ford Retail Network will enable us to get closer to the consumer and build a relationship that will last throughout the ownership experience.'
Ford Motor Co. president
'We are going to try to change what we have, as opposed to trying to invent something else.'
Robert Eaton, chairman, DaimlerChrysler
Consolidated Ford markets:
Tulsa, Okla., and San Diego operating
Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City and Rochester, N.Y., will begin operation this quarter.
How it works:
Typically, dealers sell their stores to a new venture. Ford and the dealers take shares in the new company. One dealer is put in charge. Others often take jobs in the venture.
In Tulsa, Okla., Ford owns 40 percent and the dealers own the rest. In Rochester N.Y., Republic Industries Inc. manages the operation.