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Back in black at Ford Retail

Ford Retail Group, the UK retail division of Ford Motor Company, has reported record turnover and pre-tax profits of £1.15 billion and £15.7 million respectively, following a successful year of trading which saw new car sales increase by 7.3% to 54,598 units.

Total sales volumes were down to 88,053 units in comparison to 90,369 units in 2008, but this didn’t seem to hinder profits.

Chris Hayden, Ford Retail chairman and chief executive, said: “Our results are a result of our relentless focus on improving every aspect of our operation over recent years, specifically customer service which we are taking to new levels through our ‘Moments of Truth’ customer experience initiative.

“Of particular satisfaction is how we have managed to deliver more consistent positive results throughout the year on a month-by-month basis.”

Ford Retail’s @first parts solutions business saw revenues increase by 9.1% to £95m.

The group’s used vehicles volumes were down by 1,823 units in comparison to 2008 but profits actually increased due to stronger margins. Reduced costs across the group were also a contributory factor towards the profit result.

Hayden said: “We remain cautious for the year ahead with the UK economic recovery in a fragile state and post-election uncertainties that exist such as the cost of borrowing.

“However, the group is in a strong competitive position, both financially and operationally, and is ready to fully exploit markets as conditions improve.”

Moments of Truth

A factor which Hayden believes is beginning to make a real difference to Ford Retail’s performance is the roll-out of their ‘Moments of Truth’ customer experience programme involving its 3,000 staff. Every employee from board level down attends a launch event and on-site workshops, and works towards an NVQ or equivalent qualification in customer service. Internal communications, coaching and mentoring are key elements of this long-term initiative, as well as a reward and recognition scheme.


Headline figures for year ending December 2009 (2008):

  • Turnover £1,151m (£1,058m)
  • Pre-tax profit £15.7m (-£0.85m)
  • Total units sold 88,053 (90,369)
  • New retail units 27,332 (26,352)
  • Wholesale units 3,041 (2,729)
  • New fleet car units 24,225 (21,780)
  • New CV units 5,688 (9,918)
  • Used retail units 27,767 (29,590)

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