Ford is in pretty good shape now and it’s quite clear that they’ll survive, provided they don’t fall under the huge amount of debt they have. But don’t be fooled that things are safe at Ford. Especially if you’re a dealer.
The Day (based in Connecticut) reports that Jim Farley, Ford’s Vice President of global marketing, sales and service, is looking at reducing the United States’ Ford dealer network further. He would like to see it at under 3,000 dealers for the United States. At the end of 2009, Ford had 3,553 dealers in the United States, but now that Mercury is being put to rest, the existing Lincoln/Mercury dealers (about 276) will find it difficult to stay in business without Mercury. “The dealers are full partners in every decision the company makes,” said Mr Farley, “When you are trying to consolidate your network from 6,000 down to 3,000 the dealers are on your side and they will help you participate in the consolidation.” Of course they are on your side, and of course they will help you, Mr Farley! They’ll try to persuade you to close OTHER dealers, just not their own. So, if you own a Ford dealership and think the sky is the limit with Ford’s newfound success, be careful. Ford might not want you to be part of it. Maybe Hyundai has a couple of spare franchises?