Ford Authority

Ford Dealers In Europe Will Not Switch Over To Agency Model

Nearly two years ago, Ford CEO Jim Farley revealed his vision for Ford dealers moving forward – one that included 100 percent digital sales, zero inventory (save for demo vehicles for test drives), remote pickup and delivery, and fixed pricing – or the “agency model” as it’s otherwise known. In May 2023, Martin Sander, general manager, Ford Model e Europe, reiterated that desire – specifically as it pertains to that particular region – but in the ensuing months, a number of Ford dealers expressed concerns over such a dramatic change. In fact, Ford Australia noted that it would not be switching to a fixed-price model shortly thereafter, and now, it seems as if Ford dealers in Europe won’t be either, according to a new report from Autocar.

Refreshed Ford Kuga Europe - Exterior 001 - Front Three Quarters

While Ford dealers were previously expected to switch to the agency model this year following a trial run in the Netherlands in 2023, that apparently is no longer the case. Instead, Ford Europe now plans to move to more of a hybrid approach that aims to help the automaker become more digital and embrace modern tech while also leveraging the strengths of the traditional dealer network as well.

“We’ve evolved pretty much our thinking to become what we call an ‘advanced franchise’ model, where we use the latest systems to get more insights about customers, and we can really follow the customer journey end to end, while still keeping the franchise partner as the very important backbones of our system. Learnings have brought us to an evolved franchise network,” said Anna Lena Strigel, sales and brand management boss for Ford Model e Europe. Strigel didn’t share specific details on what the automaker learned during its trial, but did suggest that data sharing will play a major role in its operations moving forward.

Next-Generation Ford Transit Custom Launch Europe - Exterior 001 - Front Three Quarters

“We believe in the power of having full transparency of data sharing between OEMs [manufacturers] and franchise partners,” she said. “In terms of the systems, that’s a real evolution – and a real requirement for being successful going forward. For most customers, a car is the second biggest investment that they’re making in their life, apart from a house, so it’s something they consider very well. And here in Europe, we see that most customers are simply not ready to do the complete transaction online. We had expected that [shift] to be faster, but the reality shows us that customers wished to have a physical interaction for the purchase, not only to get the test drive but also to have physical guidance during the transaction process.”

We’ll have more on Ford’s agency model soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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