GERMANY: Ford in German dealership overhaul - FT

By just-auto.com editorial team | 25 September 2000

Ford-Werke, the German arm of auto-giant Ford, is to overhaul its 1,000-strong German dealer network, writes the UK's Financial Times (25/9/00).

The move - as part of Ford's European strategy - has seen the German subsidiary replace the dealer organisation with 130 new "central market area" co-ordinators, responsible for handling both small Ford outlets around the country alongside 1,200 service agents.

Alongside this, the FT says that a separate group - comprising of 130 large dealers - will continue to report directly to Ford's headquarters in Cologne. The plan is to cut the cost of sales, marketing and customer finance, says the report.

Ford's German market share has fallen from 8.3 per cent at the end of 1999 to 7.2 per cent for the first eight months of this year, with the automaker losing DM434m ($195m) in Germany in 1999, and registering a DM98m deficit for the first half of this year.

The newspaper says that the profits could be hit further with the company having invested DM800m ($349m) in its Cologne plant, which is set to launch the new Fiesta model next year.

The overhaul follows a two-year review by Ford of its German sales operation, says the FT.