TTAC readers must be a truly un-American bunch. Americans love a deal, or so the saying goes. TTAC readers hate deals, or so it seems. TTAC readers are up in arms whenever it rains generous discounts to prop up flagging car sales. “The resale value will suffer if they do that!” is the echo from our dear readers. If they would only drive Fords, they would change their minds.
“The resale value of newer Ford Motor Company vehicles rose 23 percent in the past year alone, the result of stronger demand for Ford’s new vehicle lineup and improved quality and durability ratings,” trumpets a press release of FoMoCo. As far as incentives go, someone has to help me out with full 2009 numbers. But if Ed Niedermeyer’s report on the first three quarters of 2009 is a guide, Ford wasn’t stingy when it came to incentives. As of October 1 2009, Chrysler had spent an average of $4,584, GM $3,796, and Ford coming in #3 position with $3,451 on the hood. All well above the industry average, which stood at $2,835 when the sample was taken.
So why the meteoric rise in Ford’s resale value?
On closer inspection, Ford’s increase is respectable, but not mind-boggling.Average resale values increased by 19 percent in 2009, according to National Automobile Dealers Association auction data. Ford is 4 percent ahead of the average.
Why? Ford says, it’s because their cars have improved in quality. According to their own data, “warranty repair rates on Ford vehicles have declined by an average of more than 40 percent globally in the past three years.” That, my friends, is huge. Warranty costs are the best metric for quality. Warranty costs can make an obscene dent into the bottom line of a car manufacturer, to the tune of figures which a signed Non Disclosure Agreement forbids me to release. All I can tell you is that if we would have reduced warranty costs by 40 percent, it would have been champagne and bonuses all around.
Ford says they have reduced their warranty repair costs by $1 billion in the past three years, and they hope to better that number as their new generation of vehicles hits the roads. If a 40 percent decrease only saved a billion worldwide, then Ford’s warranty costs already are low.
Resale values make the customer happy and increase sales through higher trade-ins. Savings in warranty costs go straight to the bottom line. Both are major drivers of customer satisfaction.