With Ford aiming to improve its post purchase experience, a major focus is currently centered around boosting service center loyalty, at least on the retail side of things. However, with the launch of Ford Pro – the automaker’s dedicated commercial vehicle entity – the automaker is also capitalizing on a different kind of customer, offering mobile service and other things that aim to make the life of fleet customers a little easier as well. Now, Ford dealers are being asked to build dedicated commercial service centers as the latest part of this push, according to Automotive News.
Over the next few years, Ford expects dealers to open around 120 of what it calls “Elite Commercial Service Centers,” which will feature at least 24 larger service bays, around five mobile service vans, and extended hours of operation of up to 72 hours per week, all in an effort to improved fixed operations profitability. The very first dedicated service center opened in Minnesota back in January, with two more expected to follow at Ford dealers in the coming weeks, while 120 dealers have signed letters of intent to invest in the facilities.
“It’s really going after significant unmet needs in the commercial service marketplace,” said Tim Baughman, general manager of Ford Pro North America. Baughman added that FoMoCo is targeting dealers that have enough commercial business to justify this investment, as the centers can reportedly cost anywhere from $9-$15 million, with Ford providing somewhere between $250,000-$300,000 in financial assistance.
For those that choose to open these Elite facilities, there are several other requirements as well – they must have at least four bays each for express service and medium-duty vehicles, as well as doors that are at least 14 feet tall. Within 30 days of signing up for the program, each must have two mobile service vans in operation, with three more to follow once certification is complete. Regardless, a number of dealers believe that all of this work and the required investment will pay off in the long run.
“Making the financial commitment in the facilities is somewhat of a no-brainer for us,” said Andy O’Donnell, operating partner at Valley Truck Centers and Valley Auto Group. “It’s a nominal investment as a dealer when we’re looking at what the return is going to be.”
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Ford does sell a lot of fleet vehicles, so capitalizing on this through repairs could pay dividends. I don’t know much about the current service balance within most dealerships to know if this would be an attractive move or not. Finding employees willing to be on a 24/7 traveling service fleet could prove challenging though.
I doubt that this will help matters. FORD and non FORD dealers seem to be in a contant state or remodel and rearranging furniture. Perhaps if they would not worry that distracting silly stuff and concentrate on repairing and selling cars and trucks, they would be better off. In other words, build it right and keep it nice and they wouldn’t have to tear the place up every 5 minutes.
As I just said a couple of days ago, watch Ford continue to keep leaning on the dealerships with more and more financial risk. This is the next shoe to drop. $12M is a big number.
Very true, Ford wants their dealers to lay out all the money and take the risk. Funny Ford had a lot of dedicated 24/7 commercial truck dealers back in the day before they sold out to Freightliner in 1996. Now they want dealers to build a commercial network back up to sell a few strippo Transits to some plumbers?
You’re kinda short shrifting the portfolio there Bob.
Well where do you think they sell the F650-F750? Most of the FORD dealers don’t sell commercial products at least not on a regular basis.
Ford should figure out how to produce more commercial vehicles in conjunction with this newest extortion. At least at that point dealers could sell and service enough to recoup costs.
And these service vans are just oil changers, not much else. Certainly not for anything medium duty.
Dealers should be pushing back on this investment until Ford ramps up production to satisfy the needs of the commercial market , which they cannot do at this time !
Fleet buyers are limited to 5 units per quarter right now , and that is a maybe.
As a fleet buyer , our company needs transit vans , Super Duty’s , cannot get either from the factory ! Need at least 20 of each , have not seen one since last quarter of 22 ,with orders being canceled !!! What good is “Ford PRO” ??? Quit shoveling money down the EV hole , and give your customers what they want ! Look at your order banks for Super Duty’s , F-150’s and tell us that EV is the future !!! Farley’s pipe dream as far as I can see !
LoL. What good? Lift your head a bit and look past the short term and you will see that these pieces are being put in place for when production returns to something like normal.
Why follow Ford’s rules? Just build and run it based on your market.