Tags: Ford | investments | dealers | stores

Ford to Match Up to $750,000 of Investments by Dealers in Stores

Sunday, 10 Feb 2013 03:09 PM

Ford Motor Co., targeting increased U.S. market share this year, told dealers Sunday that the company will match investments in their stores to improve customer experience.

Ford will match dollar-for-dollar, up to $750,000, investments in the exterior and interior of dealerships, Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, told reporters Sunday. All of Ford’s roughly 3,100 dealers that reach agreements with the company this year will be eligible, he said.

“This is about making sure the customers, when they get in the stores, get in the service department, they have a great, modern experience,” Jim Farley, executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service, said at the National Automobile Dealers Association’s convention in Orlando, Florida. He declined to say how much Ford has budgeted for the program.

Automakers and their dealers have been jousting over pushes by the manufacturers to renovate outlets, with retailers questioning the return on their investment. Ford and other carmakers are emphasizing customer retention to separate themselves from the pack as third-party researchers such as J.D. Power & Associates report industrywide gains in product quality.

Ford’s sales rose 4.7 percent to 2.24 million cars and light trucks in the U.S. last year, trailing the industry’s 13 percent gain, according to researcher Autodata Corp. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker’s market share slipped to 15.5 percent in the U.S., from 16.8 percent in 2011.

Ford last month said that its market share will increase this year following introductions of the new Escape compact-utility vehicle and Fusion sedan.

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