Ford Division dealers want updated, well-built products.
Product glitches and a paucity of new vehicles have undermined the brand's owner loyalty and market share, said Michael Kennedy, chairman of the Ford Division National Dealer Council and president of Kennedy Automotive Group Inc. in Feasterville, Pa.
Ford Motor Co. is struggling to overcome a $5.45 billion loss in 2001 and generate $7 billion in annual pre-tax profit by 2005. Dealers are aware of the automaker's troubles but want to avoid repetition of the current new-product shortfall, Kennedy said.
The relationship between Ford Division and its dealers - rocky in recent years as the automaker neglected its core North American brand - remains unsettled.
In November, the company announced plans to cut back the payments made to Blue Oval certified dealerships. After dealer outcry, Ford said cash payments will continue to go to dealers through March 2005. Ninety-five percent of Ford Division's nearly 4,000 dealers are certified and have received an average $293 per new vehicle sold.
Kennedy was interviewed by Staff Reporter Mary Connelly.