DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. is dumping J.D. Power and Associates from its next-generation Blue Oval dealer-certification program.
The automaker has selected MSX International Inc. of Warren, Mich., to evaluate dealerships when it revamps the Blue Oval program early next year. Ford notified J.D. Power, MSX International and dealers of the change last week.
The switch comes nearly a year after J.D. Power Chairman Dave Power angered dealers with a commentary in The Wall Street Journal. Power criticized state laws supporting the franchise system as "artificial and anachronistic controls" that inflate auto prices.
Irate dealers demanded that Ford strip J.D. Power of its Blue Oval responsibilities.
Dan Hay, incoming chairman of the Ford national dealer council, says dealers should be pleased about the switch.
Ford Division spokesman Jon Harmon acknowledges that Ford listened to dealer opinions. But he also says the decision was influenced by cost.
Ford declined to detail the value of the contract or bid amounts.
J.D. Power has handled on-site dealer evaluations for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury for more than five years. Harold Krivan, senior partner at J.D. Power, says dealers evaluating J.D. Power's Blue Oval work gave the company a score of 9.77 out of 10 possible points. J.D. Power will continue to work with Ford in other capacities.
"We're disappointed in not being chosen to continue the work with Ford and their dealer body, but these kinds of things happen from time to time," Krivan says.
MSX is known largely for providing engineering and staffing services to the auto industry. But David Crittenden, MSX vice president of corporate finance, says MSX's biggest chunk of revenue comes from its business services unit, which includes dealer-related work.
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