Ford Australia is now offering all customers the option of a free loan vehicle during every scheduled service or warranty claim as it continues to pump significant investments into its dealer network.
Under its new plan, any private customer or Blue, Silver or Gold fleet member is eligible to book a free loaner to cover their needs while their car gets serviced. The plan, Ford says, is subject to availability of loan cars (hence the need to pre-book) and the participation of a given dealer.
At present, 80 per cent of Ford’s dealer 200-strong dealer network is signed on to the plan, including every site in Melbourne and Sydney. This plan expands on Ford’s existing shuttle service offered at a number of retail and service sites.
Update: Ford says it will have about 800-1000 demo cars allocated to the program nationwide once it's right up and running, ranging from the Fiesta to the Ranger. Obviously the breakdown varies by dealer.
The loan car fleet — which, by the way, points to a regular stream of well-priced Ford dealer demo vehicles for purchase down the line — joins other innovations made by Ford lately, all part of a plan to sharpen up its public face as it ‘transitions’ towards becoming a full-line importer by late 2016.
More than 20 dealers have already undergone upgrades, with 80 in total to be updated by year’s end. These sites will offer services such as online service scheduling, automated reminders when you have an appointment, and signed estimates provided before work.
As we know, Ford also recently expanded its capped-price servicing plan to cover the lifecycle of its vehicles. Ford’s new vehicles also come with seven-years/105,000km of free roadside assist. Ford also offers a separate capped-price brake pad replacement program.
Ford's new-car warranty is unchanged at three-years/100,000km.
Ford claims that according to its internal customer satisfaction metrics, its sales satisfaction rates have grown eight per cent year-on-year and its service satisfaction is up 12 per cent. Ford Australia finished slightly below the mean in the 2014 JD Power Customer Service Index (CSI) study.
As it moves away from Australian production and waves goodbye to the Falcon, Ford will be growing its product portfolio significantly. By 2020, it will have launched 20 all-new or upgraded models.
The company is clearly angling to turn around its recent sales slide by becoming a more appetising ownership prospect, a plan to be coupled with a new run of models to launch in the coming years.
Ford sales dropped a further 21 per cent in January to 5357 units, following on from its 8.6 per cent sales drop in 2014, where it registered 87,236 vehicles. Only the Ranger and Kuga showed sizeable volume growth last year.