Dealers can never have enough new product, although Ford Motor Co.'s Ford brand will try to challenge that notion in 2020.
The automaker has vowed to offer the freshest lineup in the industry by the end of this year. That includes overhauling more than three-quarters of its lineup with new or redesigned nameplates. Among them: a redesigned F-150, the revival of the Bronco SUV, a smaller off-road crossover and a new Mustang Mach-E battery electric.
John Crane, chairman of the Ford National Dealer Council, said that while the brand's retailers will have plenty of new product to push, they face a challenge in keeping entry-level customers who may defect to rivals as Ford cuts its lower-priced sedans.
Crane, 54, CEO of Hawk Auto Group — which operates Hawk Ford of Oak Lawn and Hawk Ford of St. Charles, both in Illinois — spoke with Staff Reporter Michael Martinez. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: How was 2019 for Ford dealers?
A: It was generally positive, but not without its challenges. As we move from a lesser dependence on sedans to more dependence on SUVs and pickups, we're leaving behind a portion of the consumers that are sometimes the ones that are least profitable — both from Ford and the dealership standpoint. But nevertheless they eventually become buyers of our more-expensive vehicles. So that's one of the challenges. But at the same time, demand for Ford vehicles on the high end is still very strong, including great successes like Expedition. F-150 could be a franchise in itself. Super Duty, we do very well with. Commercial has been doing really great. So even though, you know, there were some changes, there's still a ton of opportunity within our line.