Earlier this year, Ford premiered the first of a new series of ads for its dealership service network, starring wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
As Automotive News notes, the tone of this big-budget ad was entirely different from that of earlier commercials with The Rock. Those earlier ads lightheartedly cast Ford’s dealer service technicians as almost-superhuman geniuses in a high-stakes action movie plot to service vehicles against all odds. The new ad was decidedly more sincere.
But why all this focus on trying to bolster sales for Ford’s network of authorized service centers? Because naturally, there’s a fair bit of money to be made.
Ford estimates that 47-million of its vehicles are on the road today. But Automotive News reports that, while the company tends to do a good job of getting owners to take their cars to Ford service centers through the first four years of ownership, executives say a large share of its customers elect to get their vehicles serviced by independent shops. Keeping those customers coming back to Ford for their servicing needs could generate a big chunk of extra revenue.
So, Ford is investing heavily in its service operations; one estimate puts the value of Dwayne Johnson’s advertising deal with Ford at about $15 million per year. The company has also revamped its line of Motorcraft parts – consolidating some part numbers, reducing prices, and adding better parts coverage for older vehicles – while adding a new line of “Omnicraft” parts for vehicles from competing automakers in a bid to get non-customers to cross over.
All of this, Ford hopes, will help the automaker tap into some of that lost revenue from vehicle servicing.
“What we’re trying to do is drive as many people as we can to Ford dealerships for all their service needs,” Ford’s Executive Director of North American Customer Service, Brett Wheatley, told Automotive News. “People have choices, but nobody knows the vehicle better than Ford dealers.”