Ford Retail targets van users with mobile service proposition

Ford Retail targets van users with mobile service proposition

27/04/2012 in News, All News, Dealer News

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Ford Retail targets van users with mobile service proposition

Ford Retail has introduced a mobile service providing aftersales servicing and repairs for Ford and other makes of light commercial vehicles (LCVs).

In addition, the service can undertake the majority of warranty repairs and recall fixes for Ford vehicles on customer premises or at other locations.

Called @first Fleet Support, the service covers the London M25 area from bases in Barking in East London and Hayes in West London and is primarily aimed at lease companies and fleet operators.

Shaun Allen, Ford Retail’s director of group CV operations, said: "Customers are already reaping the benefits of using the service with significantly reduced vehicle down time, shorter lead times for servicing and repairs, and overall greater flexibility in aftersales support including out-of-hours servicing."

UK fleet management company Arval worked with Ford Retail to help specify the service and is one of the first to take advantage of it.

Mercedes-Benz Retail Group already operates a mobile aftersales and support service for van users within the M25.

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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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Mercedes-Benz Retail Group

A restructuring of its network early last decade saw the German manufacturer create its own retail group, which is now a stable, integral and – by turnover – one of the biggest players in the market, representing the brand alongside franchisees such as Inchcape, Marshall, Pendragon, Ridgeway and Sytner.

Brands include Mercedes-Benz Passenger Car, Mercedes-Benz Retail Used Cars and Smart.

Based in Milton Keynes, it also accounts for almost one in four of Mercedes’ new car sales in the country, achieved through a focus on presence in three of the largest conurbations in England, London, Birmingham and Manchester and at more than 40 retail centres. The group also has the biggest used car operation of all UK Mercedes dealers.

Average return on sales for the network was 2% in 2010. Its retail group performance was said by management to be well above that, reflecting a drive to be the very best Mercedes-Benz dealer and one that mirrors the brand claim adopted by Mercedes-Benz in 2010: “The best or nothing”. This is the motto of the carmaker’s founder Gottlieb Daimler.

The dealer group puts great store in employee satisfaction, benchmarking itself through surveys and the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For accreditation – it ranked among the ‘Ones To Watch’ in 2011. It also received a National Training Award in 2010 for a management development programme implemented in its north London market area.

Remuneration is linked to performance, such as in sales and CSI, and following a record year in 2010 every single employee received a £250 ‘share our success’ payment.

In 2011, the group added LCVs at its London showrooms in Brentford, Colindale and Croydon, selling Vito and Sprinter.

The group also launched a new servicing package, called ‘My Service’, to be offered in Birmingham, London and Manchester.

It’s offered in four packages, Lite (drop the car off and collect when work completed), Lounge (customers use a “stylish” waiting area, with TV, newspapers, free wi-fi and internet access and play area, and wait for their car to be serviced) and Drive and Collect (offering an insured loan car) and Collect (MBRG staff collect the customer’s car from home or work, returning it once the service is complete).

My Service was trialled at Mercerdes-Benz Epsom. Next to run it are Birmingham Central, Colindale and Brooklands before being extended to other parts of the network.

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