Does it make financial sense to look at ways to cut the energy consumption and emissions of your dealership during a recession?
Ford Retail believes it is. AM spoke to the group's property manager Simon Page at its Dagenham Ford site, in Barking.
A £4.6 million investment saw the dealership become the 'greenest' in the Ford Retail network.
But as Page points out very little investment is needed to make cost savings.
Page said: “While it’s a laudable aim in green terms, there is a logical goal in looking at environemental considerations from a purely financial perspective, particularly as profit margins are tight in the motor industry now.
“The consideration for going green starts with a need to keep costs down - essential in a recession.
“The economic climate has helped bring the costs down at Dagenham Ford considerably, therefore the payback is much shorter than it was and so is more attractive."
The payback for Ford Retail, Page believes, comes in the comparison of ‘doing nothing’ and the cost involved in making the change to greener technology.
“In the past, the length of time it would take to recoup the cost of investment was 18 months and you would think twice about it. Now the time is nine to 12 months.”
Another important factor is the cost of energy which has gone up “exponentially”.
Ford Retail’s consumption has come down dramatically since the redevelopment, but the cost per unit of energy has gone up.
“Maybe our energy bills are not that different to what they were, but the incentive to change things is significant because of the cost for energy we would have been paying if we had done nothing. We would have higher consumption and rate per unit would have risen.
“You’re missing a trick if you don’t seek to do something and look at the alternatives.”
- In the October 23 issue of AM, Simon Page outlines the green measures Ford Retail has introduced to bring down costs - and gives advice on what dealers can do.