Ford Dealers Must Prepare For Big Changes

Zoidz

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"Essentially, Ford is looking to work with dealers to implement changes such as selling at non-negotiable prices, scaling down facilities, and committing to carrying no inventory. These new operating standards are driven by EV sales growth. "It's going to be much more efficient, a lot more online," said CEO Jim Farley when speaking to Automotive News. "It's going to be a really different model."

 

crashmtb

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Oh no those poor dealership owners!

So anyway…
 

av8or

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I personally hope dealerships vanish with ice vehicles. It’s such a scam endorsed by the government. I’d buy from a legacy manufacturer if I could buy direct. I spent the last dollar at a dealership 2 years ago. Never again.
 

Taycanfrank

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The dealership model is obselete.. until you need help and spend hours trying to get a real person on the phone.

I like the model Ford is proposing here. Dealerships more as service centers/showrooms.
 

COdogman

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It’s smart of them to see the writing on the wall. Unfortunately for them, they have allowed and encouraged the whole dealer model to become the Frankenstein’s monster it is today. Now they want to undo it because they see how wasteful and idiotic it is compared to the direct sales model. This will be a big fight.
 


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Zoidz

Zoidz

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It’s smart of them to see the writing on the wall. Unfortunately for them, they have allowed and encouraged the whole dealer model to become the Frankenstein’s monster it is today. Now they want to undo it because they see how wasteful and idiotic it is compared to the direct sales model. This will be a big fight.
"I'm so excited to go to the car dealership and haggle with them!!!!" said no one ever.
 

moosetags

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As technology moves on, the new car dealers will go the way of Blockbuster. Some may survive by going the way of service, repairs, and the pre-owned market.

Brian
 

electruck

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"I'm so excited to go to the car dealership and haggle with them!!!!" said no one ever.
I'm not so sure. I have a friend who trades cars so frequently that I honestly think it's a hobby for him. Or perhaps just an addiction. He's also a natural born salesman that could sell ice to Eskimos. For him it's the thrill of the chase.
 

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It’s smart of them to see the writing on the wall. Unfortunately for them, they have allowed and encouraged the whole dealer model to become the Frankenstein’s monster it is today. Now they want to undo it because they see how wasteful and idiotic it is compared to the direct sales model. This will be a big fight.
I agree that the dealership model is obsolete but there are aspects that are still advantageous for the consumer that I think need to be incorporated into the direct-to-consumer approach, namely:
  1. People who are empowered to make decisions that aren't controlled by the "mothership."
  2. People in the flesh and not voicemails or chatbots
  3. Some semblance of basic customer service
Look at the Tesla model:
  1. No ability to deviate from Elon's Commandments. Your $100K+ Model S was delivered without a functioning _____ and 3 months later still no parts but you continue to be billed for FSD even though you don't have a functioning vehicle.: Pound Sand
  2. Want to talk to a person and not a chatbot or app or voicemail: Pound Sand
  3. Expect basic customer service when they can't even remotely keep up with demand and know if you storm off there are 100 people waiting in line for a Tesla?: Pound Sand.
This is why I will never own a Tesla and what I hope RIVIAN will aim to avoid in the way it handles customers and customer service in general.
 

COdogman

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I agree that the dealership model is obsolete but there are aspects that are still advantageous for the consumer that I think need to be incorporated into the direct-to-consumer approach, namely:
  1. People who are empowered to make decisions that aren't controlled by the "mothership."
  2. People in the flesh and not voicemails or chatbots
  3. Some semblance of basic customer service
Look at the Tesla model:
  1. No ability to deviate from Elon's Commandments. Your $100K+ Model S was delivered without a functioning _____ and 3 months later still no parts but you continue to be billed for FSD even though you don't have a functioning vehicle.: Pound Sand
  2. Want to talk to a person and not a chatbot or app or voicemail: Pound Sand
  3. Expect basic customer service when they can't even remotely keep up with demand and know if you storm off there are 100 people waiting in line for a Tesla?: Pound Sand.
This is why I will never own a Tesla and what I hope RIVIAN will aim to avoid in the way it handles customers and customer service in general.
I agree 100%. I guess I would say those are just basic things that *should* exist whether we are talking about a dealer or a service or direct delivery location. I have visited countless dealers in my life and even worked at one a long time ago and I wouldn’t say “customer service” was achieved at any of them. It feels like they are interested in *helping* you (even though I show up knowing what I want) until the sale is made and after that you can “pound sand” just like if we were dealing with Tesla. I can also honestly say that at every dealer I have visited I seemed to know far more about their vehicles than they did, which is just sad.

Maybe that has just been my bad luck over my lifetime of car buying, but since I have known nothing else it just made me hate that entire experience.
 


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I agree 100%. I guess I would say those are just basic things that *should* exist whether we are talking about a dealer or a service or direct delivery location. I have visited countless dealers in my life and even worked at one a long time ago and I wouldn’t say “customer service” was achieved at any of them. It feels like they are interested in *helping* you (even though I show up knowing what I want) until the sale is made and after that you can “pound sand” just like if we were dealing with Tesla. I can also honestly say that at every dealer I have visited I seemed to know far more about their vehicles than they did, which is just sad.

Maybe that has just been my bad luck over my lifetime of car buying, but since I have known nothing else it just made me hate that entire experience.
I hear you on the "customer service" part. Dealerships are fiercely competing for your business and so much of what you perceive or actually experience to be customer service is driven by the desire to keep you as a customer either in the short term (before the sale) or if the dealership is good/smart in the long term (after the sale).

When you remove meaningful competition and insert demand that outpaces supply, you get the Tesla "we don't give a f*ck" model of consumer experience.

Hopefully meaningful competition in the EV space from new companies and legacy companies pivoting to EVs will improve the overall consumer experience because you will have options - like you do in the current dealership model.
 

Trekkie

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I have had decent experiences the last uh...seven vehicles I bought at dealers. I have bought the Tesla way, and then the old dealer way.

For me, the service has always been great, free car washes if I stopped buy and asked (Audi) service advisors that treated my wife like a human and didn't talk down to her (Audi, Toyota, Ford) a favorite tactic of mine was to 'stand behind her' in line and see what they said when we dropped off a car for maintenance or for warranty work.

I will say that financing was easier with a dealer, I had a last minute SNAFU with my financing when I bought my Tesla and having to hunt it on my own, was in the parking lot picking up the check and bank decided to change everything and require more up front, almost cost me my deposit which was $2500 at the time for a Tesla, fixed it, but boy was that annoying. The Dealer finance guys really have it down to an art.

There are bad dealers too, in my area another Ford Dealer, and the Volvo dealer are in that category, ADM at the Ford dealer, and snobby jackholes at the volvo dealer. I live in an area though with more than one dealer for just about every car except Mazda/Subaru.

If we go all direct, they gotta figure out the service model. Both Warranty and post-warranty. Tesla service for me so far has been good, the mobile service has been excellent. They come to my work or my house and do it great. Communication has gotten a little weird during Covid especially if you have to take the car in with Tesla. My only experience with a regular dealer recently was with my mom taking a SUV in for body work, and I wasn't real happy with the way they were talking to her (dismissive, unwilling to commit to anything, not answering her questions) but that was body work and that is always a crap shoot it seems like.
 

 
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