Ford Pro – the automaker’s dedicated commercial business – has grown quickly since its launch, adding a bevy of connected vehicle services such as mobile servicing, fleet management software, and telematics subscriptions. But while these services are expected to generate billions in annual revenue for The Blue Oval moving forward, Ford CEO Jim Farley recently revealed that they’re helping improve customer retention, too.
“Only 10 percent of our Pro customers do business with us, and we hardly do any financing with them,” the Ford CEO said while speaking on the automaker’s Q4 earnings call with investors. “And so between financing and parts and service, we have enormous upside in the short-term. And those are very profitable parts of our business. So I would think of it this way. It’s like software is starting to drive a closed loop where the customer wants to do more physical service with us. We have all those mobile units, more and more dedicated dealers and more of our commercial customers because of the use of the software is coming back and buying parts for us.”
This is notable because Ford Pro (or commercial vehicle customers in general) are quite different than retail consumers. Commercial vehicle demand remains incredibly high in the U.S. and Europe – even as retail sales have declined – and fleet buyers are even more interested in all-electric vehicles, too.
FoMoCo is well aware of the importance of forging loyalty among its customers, which is precisely why it’s aiming to drive growth in that area in terms of dealership service, as Ford Authority reported last August. In fact, the automaker has conducted workshops with a number of dealers in the U.S. and Canada as it aims to improve customer loyalty in that regard.
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For all the talk about building and maintaining customer loyalty… one might think they just invented the concept. While I commend Ford’s initiative here, I am sure that GM et al will have and be doing similar things. The problems remains however, if Ford cannot put product in front of their customer or provide certainty around build/delivery dates….it is all just talk with more downside than up if not fixed quickly… excuses aside.