Ford Motor Credit Co. will help dealers sell more vehicles in 2006, says its North American leader.
The captive finance unit of Ford Motor Co. is pitching a four-point plan to dealers, says A.J. Wagner, president of North America for Ford Credit. The plan includes:
1. Technology to streamline the sales and F&I process.
2. Actions to drive owner loyalty and showroom traffic.
3. Programs such as loyalty incentives to enhance Ford Credit's competitiveness on the wholesale and retail sides.
4. Assistance for dealers in training and consulting.
Wagner spoke with Staff Reporter Amy Wilson.
How are rising interest rates affecting your competitiveness?
We've been as competitive as we've been in years. The rising interest rates rise for everybody. Now with the credit ratings, that has not impacted our retail pricing directly because we use asset-backed securities. Using that as a funding source, we have been able to stay competitive.
The biggest concern with rising interest rates with the dealers is rising floorplan expenses. That is something we continually look to help them on.
Employee pricing and deep cash incentives took a toll on your share. What was the impact?
It was a significant impact for a month and a half. Now we're back to where we were before that, so we're fine. c
Leasing is increasing. How is that changing your business?
We have seen our leasing volumes grow. The beauty of leasing is that you have a shorter trading cycle for the customer. And they come back at a very high owner loyalty rate.
It is a product we need to monitor and watch. If you let leasing grow without an upward limit, two or three years from now, you could have issues with too many units going back to auctionBut leasing dropped to such levels we can afford to let it rise to a greater level than it has been the last couple years.
What level is it at right now?
It really varies by brand. It would be hard to throw a number out. We've kind of kept up with the industry.
What is that upward limit on leasing?
I don't want to put a number out there. There's just an upward limit. We in the industry will know it when we see it.
In the retail financing business, I understand employee pricing and deep cash incentives took a toll on your market share. How much of an impact was that?
It was a significant impact for a month and a half. Now we're back to where we were before that, so we're fine.
You may e-mail Amy Wilson at [email protected]