In the world of dealer standards, it is usually the OEMs that write the standards, and it is the dealers who have to pay the usually steep bills. Occasionally, an OEM even is tempted to recoup the steep cost of developing a new corporate identity by marking up the signage sold to its dealers. Dealers hate it. Ford is doing something dealers will love: Ford will offer dollar-for-dollar matching funds to its 3,100 U.S. dealers to upgrade their shops, from new construction to improved digital programs, Ford executives told Reuters.
The bulk of the money will not go to bricks and mortars, but to “enhance customer digital experiences. Much of it will be spent to help customers use tablet computers to liaise with dealerships,” Reuters writes.
Ford’s Jim Farley did not want to say how much the program will cost. “If all 3,100 dealers enroll and sign letters of intent in 2013 to make the upgrades, it could cost Ford as much as $2.33 billion in matching funds,” Reuters calculated.