Ford Rewards Program Aims To Woo Owners Back To Dealerships For Service

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Navigate over to just about any auto forum, and you will see people talk about “stealerships” with disgust and talk up going anywhere but there for your service. Yet dealerships need new car buyers to come back to them for service. And it’s become the challenge du jour for all automakers in getting customers back to the dealership. Because people, in general, aren’t fans of going to dealers for things other than warranty service.

With that in mind, several automakers have reward programs in place for owners to try and woo them back after a purchase, as one popular solution. At the NADA meeting, Ford outlined a new rewards program of its own, and just about all of its dealers are on board.

The rewards system has some complimentary maintenance built in, but that aspect of the program isn’t finalized at this time. It would be easy to see the program thrown in some free oil changes here and there or free tire rotations. Exactly what the program will end up doing on that front remains to be seen. What is known is that customers who sign up for the rewards program will receive $210 in service credits at their local dealership.

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Future free services are earned via a points system for completing specific tasks at the dealership, and while no specifics about what those tasks might be are available, the assumption is that points can be earned for each service interaction, by buying accessories or buying a new car. The good news for owners is that the points you accumulate aren’t tied to one dealer reports Automotive News. That means if you have a bad service interaction, you can take your points and free services to another dealer for redemption.

As for the rationale behind the rewards program, Jim Farley, Ford’s President of global markets, says that a loyal owner is much easier to do business with than trying to get customers elsewhere; with a cooling vehicle market and sales declining in many segments loyal customers are a big deal to all automakers. All the details on the rewards program are expected to be made available in April when the program launches. While Ford seems excited about the program, reports indicate dealers are too.

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Each time a customer comes in for service, dealers have the opportunity to get the customer on their lots to see new cars. The number of people who roll into a dealer for an oil change in a vehicle that is a few years old and roll out in a new car might surprise you.

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Written by Shane McGlaun

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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4 Comments

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  1. A good idea. Why didn’t they think keeping Ford sedan customers is cheaper, with improved product in the market, is cheaper and better than trying to change their minds to buy SUV/CUVs? Maybe they should worry also that their loyal sedan customers may leave for the competition who continues to make sedans? Too much sense?

  2. The issue with dealership service has always been the price. The dealers use the flat rate system…..ie. a water pump takes 2.5 hrs to replace as per the Ford book and hour service rate is $100/hr then labor is $250 plus parts plus tax.

    Smaller garages are usually able to beat the flat rate system so customers go there.

    Secondly, the dealers don’t usually pay technicians the same as private sector mechanics so most of the good ones go to private garages.

    If the dealers can be more competitive they will claw back customers.

  3. Maybe that can help Ford dealers, but the main reason there are lesser customer visits is the Ford quality. I have a 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid, and I have visited my Ford dealer only six times after the sale: four for annual oil changes at $45 each (the Fusion has a under body cover so it needs to be lifted to change the oil and filter), and two for factory recalls (steering and doors) at no cost. That is it!

    Most other brands, especially the imports , have many more visits and more costs, so their dealers make more money. As an owner, I prefer to save money!

  4. Ford dealers should seriously pay good money to experienced technicians so that customers will appreciate the quality service and in return revisit the dealership again for more service and new car or truck purchaces. Very important!!!. Ford dealers have a lot of new inexperienced technicians and dealers are relying on them for success . That’s the failure . It must be fixed. Pay top experienced technicians good money and you will see the difference.

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