Lincoln Mercury dealers were updated on the review in July, and the company will present findings to the Ford national dealer council this month. All dealers then would be advised of changes, which would begin in October.
Ford regularly reviews individual repair processes, but this is a broader effort to cut labor times, some dealers say. But Ford says the review represents a fraction of repair procedures.
"They met with some resistance," says Iowa dealer Jim Hayden, a member of Ford dealers' parts and service committee. "Right now it's a very bad time for dealers to face more cuts."
Ford made changes in warranty repair procedures in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Time guides that came out then cut times by 24 percent across the board, says Randy Fuller of Fullers' White Mountain Motors in Show Low, Ariz. A Ford insider says that 24 percent estimate is too high.
But technicians, who say the resulting times are tough to meet, are fighting the current standards and any further changes.
"They say their times are valid all day long. I'll dispute any one of them," says Mark Ward, a technician at Eufaula Ford in Eufaula, Okla.
Technicians who question procedures or time allotments for a repair can appeal, Ford spokesman Glenn Ray says. If Ford gets two such requests, it will review the standards.