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Ford sets up new Transit Specialist Dealer network, boosts range's payloads

Ford of Britain has set up a new network of 115 sales and 95 service locations amongst its 240 sales and 240 service locations. The 'elite' Transit outlets will be known as Transit Specialist Dealers (TSD). Gary Whittam, commercial vehicles director, Ford of Britain, said, "The TSD and Backbone of Britain standards are crucial because we know that our business customers need to be assured of the level of service they will get."

Meeting the 'Backbone of Britain' standards required of TSD outlets involves additional investment in exclusively CV workshops, exclusively CV sales staff, service managers and technicians, opening hours of at least 70 hours per week and emergency support for customers.

Other sales and service standards for TSD outlets include:

- A courtesy Transit available (service)- A minimum of three demonstrator vehicles (sales)- Minimum of five vehicles on new commercial vehicles display (sales).

In addition, the more comprehensive 'Backbone of Britain' dealer standards include:

- CV-dedicated sales and/or service management, technicians and sales staff- Minimum of seven vehicles in a new CVs display (sales)- Minimum of six demonstrator vehicles (sales)- Minimum four-bay capacity in the workshop (service)- Dedicated CV workshop (service)- Workshops operating at least 70 hours per week, including Saturdays (service)- Pre-booked routine service or repairs available while you wait (service)- In normal working hours, emergencies will be inspected within 15 minutes of arriving at the dealership (service)- Emergency support 24 hours a day (service)- Aim to repair breakdowns at the roadside (service)- Full class 7 MoT capability (service)- Full support for LPG fuelled vehicles.

Ford has also announced increases in the payload of all SWB Transit models, as well as some MWB and LWB derivatives. Payloads are increased by up to 160 kg on Transits produced from March 1, 2004. The 145kg net payload increase on the Transit 260S is a 19% increase (assuming a 75kg driver allowance), which Ford reckons could save a corresponding proportion of delivery journeys.

Ford has also introduced a new 135PS, 2.4-litre TDCi engine, the most powerful diesel yet to appear in a Transit, mated to a new six-speed gearbox.

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