Ford India service network to continue with over 90 percent dealers on board

Published On Dec 15, 2021 06:01:00 PM

Ford customers will also be protected with a five-year price freeze on spare parts and consumables.

Ford announced its exit from the Indian market earlier this year. While it had already assured customers of continued support for service, parts and warranty, specific details are just beginning to emerge. Ford has now confirmed to Autocar India that “more than 90 percent” of its dealers will continue their service operations, and “for the rest 10 percent [of dealers], the discussions are continuing and not concluded.” As such, Ford’s service network will have a presence in “greater than 240 cities, compared to the present count of 258 cities”.

  • Ford customers assured of service for the next ten years
  • Service operations to continue in 240 cities, out of the current 258 cities
  • Ford has fixed prices for consumables and spare parts for next five years

 

What’s in store for Ford customers?

 

“A significant majority of our dealers have signed up to the Dealer Service Agreement which ensures that our customers will continue to have a Ford dealership to service their vehicles,” said Vinay Raina, executive director, Marketing, Sales and Service at Ford India.

However, the statement from the company does add, “We do anticipate a small reduction in the number of dealers in a few cities.”

Ford has tied up with dealers to service the existing car parc for the next ten years. According to a source in the dealer fraternity, “Ford has also locked in all the part prices [for five years]”, which means that the cost of consumables and spare parts for vehicle owners will remain constant for the next five years.

Ford has already produced an inventory of components and stocked up its parts depots in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Sanand (Gujarat) and Kolkata. All of this should come as a relief for existing Ford customers after its shock announcement to cease vehicle manufacturing and sales in our market.   

What’s in store for Ford dealers?

Ford has been locked in negotiations with its dealers and has agreed to compensate them over the next few years for the potential loss of sales and service work, and the compensations are sizeable.

On the sales front, dealers are apparently being paid their full margin. “Let’s say, a dealer usually sells 200 vehicles, and the dealer margin is Rs 60,000-70,000, along with incentives. With sales no longer happening, the company will pay the dealer Rs 1.4 crore [that is, Rs 70,000 for each of the lost sales of 200 units],” a Ford dealer source told Autocar India.

The source added that the total amount will be paid in installments “every six months”. “Over a period of four years, dealers will get all their money,” commented the source. The calculation of lost sales for each dealership will be on the basis of its average sales in the last 14 months.

But each of those lost sales would have also generated revenue in service and spare part sales for the dealer. This is also something that has been considered in the settlement. For the next five years, Ford will pay a dealer “whatever he would have lost. Let’s say, a dealer’s sale is 50 vehicles a month. Over the next 60 months, the company will pay Rs 4.5 crore [that is, Rs 15,000 for each of the 50 vehicles for 60 months],” said the source. 

As time passes and Ford’s vehicle parc in the country reduces, service business is bound to decline. Giving further insight, the source mentioned, “Between now and the next five years, every year there will be a reduction of 10 percent in a dealer’s service load.” This is yet another factor the carmaker has agreed to compensate the dealer fraternity for.

With such generous compensation, most of the dealers are expected to accept the company’s terms. “I think 99 percent of them [dealers] will be okay,” said our source. He continued, “Ford has been very fair to its dealers. I don’t think any manufacturer in the country will be as good as them.”

Giving Ford’s perspective, Raina said, “The principle of compensation – developed with a dealer select committee – included facility size, business history, performance on both sales and service, appropriate stock as well as de-growth assumptions. The intent was to be fair to dealers and also ensure they remain committed to serving our customers,” explained Ford’s Raina.

Reports suggest that Ford is expected to spend around Rs 5,000 crore on its exit from the mass market segment in the country. Some of the amount has been earmarked for dealer settlement, in addition to compensating other entities like suppliers and employees. The capital will also be used to chart the company’s future business plan in India.  

As we have already reported, going forward, the American automaker is looking to introduce high-end, imported models in our market, albeit through a smaller retail network. Ford India has already confirmed the launch of the Mustang Mach-E and a return of the Mustang GT, and it is also hoping to bring in other electrified models down the line.    

What do you think of Ford’s attempts to look after its service operations? Let us know in the comments below.

Also see:

Ford to invest USD 11.4 billion in its largest plant yet

Ford announces new EV strategy

New Ford EV crossover to use Volkswagen MEB platform

Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.


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