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Ford Retail eyes green initiatives for network

Ford Retail is investigating a number of environmental measures that could be rolled out across its network of 63 dealerships.

They range from a full duplication of its blueprint Dagenham dealership, which opened in May and features a wind turbine, waste oil heating system and rain water harvesting system, to a pick and mix solution of green options that best fit an individual site.

“We have three directors working with two agencies and our staff on an environmental strategy,” said Ford Retail chairman and chief executive Chris Hayden.

“It’s an ongoing programme that we have been doing for a year. It will report its latest findings in September.”

He believes the waste oil heating and rain water harvesting systems are two areas that other dealerships in the network should invest in.

“We will look at it for all our sites,” he added.

One feasibility study the group is considering is electricity and lighting.

Costs have fallen and bulb longevity has improved due to new technology – although those developments happened too late to be implemented at the Dagenham showroom.

The new £5.3 million dealership is saving up to 20% of the energy footprint of the old site, despite being 1.5 acres larger, at 3.4 acres.

It is producing up to 10% of its energy consumption via self-generating or renewable sources.

A further 10% of the building’s energy use is generated by a wind turbine and this is rising – Ford Retail managing director Bob Grant estimates it could reach 20%.

“We are investing in the environment because it is the right commercial decision,” he said.

“But we also recognise the moral responsibility to be sustainable, especially in London. We have hit it just at the right time with Ford’s Eco models and we are seeing a lot of interest in smaller cars from customers.”

Ford Retail has also considered the environmental impact of its demonstrator, courtesy car and internal fleet.

By switching models to Econetic Fiestas and Focuses, it has seen a 20-25% drop in fuel costs.

n Ford Retail has invested £20 million in the Ford ‘Look & Style’ corporate identity programme over the past couple of years with some of the cash coming from the disposal of its nine sites in mainland Europe.

Discounting recent acquisitions, it has six sites still to update.

Projects include Eltham, undergoing a £1 million refit, and two relocations – St Helens and Barnsley.

One site in Bristol and two in London are also in need of some investment.

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