To the Editor:
Regarding "Ford will slash dealer corps" and "The roots of Toyota's strength" (both Aug. 14).
Ford's reduction of dealers at first glance appears as a win-win position for both dealers and manufacturer. But dealers should be wary of the future of this action.
It shows that the reason a dealer is successful is because of the brand of car, rather than the customer satisfaction with the dealer and thus gives the manufacturer more power in the relationship - especially in this case in which the manufacturer is probably the reason for the dealer's poor performance.
Every dealer should ask himself this question: Does a person buy a car because of the dealer, or does a person buy from a dealer because of the car?
An equal position would be ideal but is not always possible.
This leads to "The roots of Toyota's strength." That article should be mandatory reading for all dealer management. Applying Toyota's elements for success to the dealer level should lead to more long-term planning, dedication to customer satisfaction and efficient operations. Those results should lead to dominance in the marketplace with return customers and continual profitability beyond imagination.
Today's management places price as the main buying factor and uses excessive advertising, which is costly, and profitability as the means to the end rather than the end itself.
The importance that the dealer plays in the dealer/manufacturer equation is providing the manufacturer with growing, satisfied, long-term customers. (It is less costly to sell to return customers than attracting new customers. Let your customers help you in doing your advertising.) The stronger the dealer is in this capacity, the more secure he is in his relationship with the manufacturer(s).