Job One for Ford This Week: Placate Antsy Dealers
A major product shift and looming job cuts have some Ford dealers nervous about the future. Many would like to know what to expect under their showroom lights in the coming years, and this week brings an opportunity for the automaker to ease those worries.
Under Hackett’s leadership, communication often seems to take a backseat to vision, so the annual Ford dealer meet-up in Las Vegas brings with it high expectations of a great game of show and tell.
“There’s been a lot less exposure to senior management,” said Jack Madden, owner of Jack Madden Ford in Norwood, Massachusetts, in an interview with Automotive News. “There’s just not enough information flowing down to dealers about where the company’s headed.”
There’s not a lot of info flowing to company employees, either, and that has nerves on edge after Ford announced impending layoffs to its white-collar workforce. The automaker didn’t state a number, leaving many wondering just how large of a haircut might come from the $11 billion restructuring. Last year, media reports stated the number could be as high as 10 percent of Ford’s global workforce. The automaker employs roughly 70,000 salaried workers.
Obviously, dealers are far more concerned about product, and they’ll hear about the sales strategy for upcoming new or revamped models during the Vegas gathering. Those products include the critically important 2020 Explorer and looming 2019 Ranger. The 2020 Bronco and its smaller, unibody stablemate should receive a mention, too. It’s a roadmap dealers want, a blueprint for the future, and Hackett and Co. need to deliver.
According to Automotive News, a new ad campaign titled “Ford Proud” will also see airplay during the meeting, ahead of its public release. What’s hoped for by those on our side of things is that Ford brass has more than existing pipeline products to show its dealers.
[Image: Ford Motor Company]