New parts boss at Ford Retail

New parts boss at Ford Retail

27/01/2012 in News, All News, Car Manufacturer News, People News, Dealer News

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Ford Retail, Europe’s largest Ford dealer group, has appointed Jon Harte as managing director to lead its dedicated parts business, @first parts solutions, following the retirement of Angus Brown in December.

In his previous role as operations director, Harte was instrumental in setting up and developing @First into a £100million turnover business following its launch less than four years ago.

Outlining his strategy for @First Parts Solutions, Harte said: “We are currently the largest seller of Ford parts in the UK with 25% of the market, but our vision is to be the number 1 distributor in any way you wish to measure, whether it’s volume, profit, geography or customer service.”

“We put our people first in everything we do, who in turn put our customers first.

"Combining the best in customer service with innovative use of IT and efficient warehousing and distribution, means the business is in a good position to achieve our ambitious growth plans."

@First Parts Solutions employs 400 people working at five parts distribution centres across the UK with a further six hubs and a fleet of 160 delivery vans.

The business has over £10m of stock across 130,000 lines at any given time, and makes 2,500 deliveries to customers each day.

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Ford Retail

Ford Retail is the world's largest, dedicated Ford dealer group, operating 57 Ford main dealerships, three Iveco and two Mazda and employing more than 3,000 people.

Total turnover is around £1.1 billion according to the latest AM100 analysis and the group sells around 80,000 vehicles per annum (54,000 new, 23,000 used and 5,000 new LCVs).

Brands within the group include Bougourd and La Motte in Guernsey and Jersey, Brunel Ford in Bristol and the south west of England, Dagenham Motors throughout London and the South East, Heartlands Ford in Birmingham, Lindsay Ford in Northern Ireland, Polar Ford across the north of England, Ford Online and Ford Online Parts.

Ford Retail is owned by Ford Motor Company, but operates as an independent dealer group with its own board of directors and operating strategies.

Chris Hayden, who set up the group more than 10 years ago, in the post of chief executive this year left to become a Group 1 Automotive market director.

Customer service is described as “an absolute passion” at Ford Retail. It has developed its own customer service training programme - Moments of Truth.

Every employee attends this training to receive either a Ford Retail Diploma, or in many cases, an NVQ in Customer Service. Ford Retail is the only company in the sector to be recognised and accredited by the Institute of Customer Service.

Seven of Ford Retail’s 56 service centres were voted into the top 50 best for customer service in the annual Golden Garages competition run by Motor Codes.

As well as operating dealerships, Ford Retail has also developed two specialist divisions.

@first Parts Solutions is the UK's largest Ford parts operation. It supplies almost £100m of parts annually from a number of dedicated distribution centres to service the needs not only of Ford Retail's dealerships but also of trade and dealer customers.

@first also sells parts on the internet both through eBay and via its own website - FordOnlineParts.
FordOnline is Ford Retail's vehicle sales website, launched in spring 2009, offering new and used cars and commercial vehicles as well as accessories.

It is growing all the time as the internet becomes more widely accepted. Customers can deal with the FordOnline team either by phone or e-mail and then collect their car from one of 12 collection centres around the country.

At the end of 2011 Stuart Kerr was appointed chief executive of the group, filling a vacancy left by Chris Hayden.

Kerr was previously regional president for Volvo Car Corporation in Europe, and served as managing director of Volvo cars UK from 2006 to 2008.

Hayden went to work for US motor retailer Group 1.

In February 2014 Ford Retail announced its customer facing brands will operate under a new name – TrustFord.

The move, which will start the second quarter of the year, is part of an ongoing strategy to align the business’ regional dealerships under one nationally recognised brand name and ensure a joined-up customer experience and offering across its entire group.

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