DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is giving dealers more money and support to expand remote service offerings such as mobile vans, pickup and delivery, the automaker said Thursday.
Rising customer demand for such services, driven largely by the coronavirus pandemic, prompted Ford to enhance its capabilities, said Todd Rabourn, North America regional customer experience director. He said Ford will offset costs for up to six repair orders per mobile service unit each day and all pickups and deliveries a dealership makes. The payments will be based on a store's warranty labor rates, which vary by market.
Rabourn declined to provide a range of the support dealers will get, citing the different rates. He also said the company would provide training for technicians on how to operate the vans and integrate the services.
"We see this being the growing preference of consumers going forward," Rabourn told Automotive News. "We know customers want convenience, and we think these experiences will make it convenient for them to get their vehicles serviced."
The program is voluntary and available to all dealers, Ford said.
Pickup and delivery involves a dealership going to a customer's home or place of business to pick up their vehicle and return it when the repair has been completed. Customers also have the option of scheduling a mobile service van to perform light repairs and routine maintenance at eligible locations. Ford says dealers have the ability to set service and mileage limits.
Ford's retail network has 828 mobile service vans across about 600 dealerships today, Rabourn said. The automaker hopes to increase that to about 1,400 vans at 1,000 dealerships by the end of this year.
"We've been working with multiple teams at Ford to offer our customers more ways to personalize vehicle service," said Tim Hovik, chairman of the Ford National Dealer Council, in a statement. "By expanding the remote experiences offerings, we can accelerate our ability to be there for customers whenever and wherever they need us."