Ford is in discussions with other dealer groups and hopes to open three more outlets this year, targeting the Midlands and the north-east. The approach will also be extended to mainland Europe.
The new strategy will help establish Ford Direct as a standalone brand and improve the carmaker's control over the resale process while raising residual values. All cars will be independently inspected by the RAC and backed by a two-year manufacturer warranty.
“We want to make buying a used car a better experience, especially for women, by offering a modern retail environment and encouraging customers to browse in-store,” says a Ford spokeswoman.
The Peoples business can accommodate 230 cars onsite - customers can also view 3000 cars via the Ford Direct website - but will display none inside the dealership. Instead, the showroom will feature a café, children's play area and mother and baby changing facilities.
“It's all about raising the profile and reputation of the used car retail market,” says Peoples chairman Brian Gilda. “It is the result of extensive research by Ford and will set the standard for retailing used cars.”
Ford of Europe vice president of marketing, sales and service, Earl Hesterberg, opened the Peoples outlet, stressing its importance to VW's European used car strategy.