quarter of Ford of Canada’s 543 dealers are losing money, the Financial Post reported,
citing the company’s new president and chief executive.
But, the newspaper added, Alain Batty is confident matters will improve after
he settled a smouldering dispute inherited from his predecessor after just three
months on the job.
"When I arrived everyone was talking about angry or bitter relations,"
Batty, a 50-year-old Ford veteran, told the Financial Post.
"I thought it was going to be very difficult to turn that around, but
… I think you’ll find Ford soon has the best dealer relations in the industry."
To improve Ford’s relations with dealers, Batty plans to increase the supply
of used vehicles available to dealers by 50 percent which should help attract
more customers concerned about affordability, the Financial Post said.
He has also halved the service fee for information technology services provided
to dealers by Ford which should save the network $Can6 million, the newspaper
Ford will also work with dealers to reduce fixed costs with the aim of giving
them a five percent return on sales, the Financial Post said.
The most concerned dealerships are in East Coast cities, Batty told the newspaper.
The report said the new CEO, an Algerian-born French national, wants to boost
market share to at least 20 percent from the present 16.5 percent, a long way
off the 25 percent achieved in the late 1990s.
To achieve this, he plans to boost incentives, the Financial Post said.
The newspaper said that Canadian dealers had been angry with Batty’s predecessor
Bobby Gaunt for implementing a United States programme called Blue Oval Certified,
which offers financial rewards to dealers that meet certain quality standards
as judged by consulting firm J.D. Power and Associates.
Batty has reached a compromise that rewards any dealer "that works hard
to become certified", the Financial Post said.
However, the newspaper said that Batty declined to comment on a second Ford
Canada dispute he inherited from Gaunt the replacement of the Mercury
brand with Ford across Canada.
That left new combined Ford-Lincoln dealers competing with all-Ford shops nearby
and the affected dealers have filed a class action lawsuit, the Financial Post
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