Ford Revamps Motorcraft Parts, Hoping for Happier Dealerships and Big Profits
Ford Motor Company’s parts division, Motorcraft, has undergone a massive overhaul intended to improve dealer sales and reduce overhead costs. Executives from the Blue Oval spent much of 2016 focusing on how to boost the profitability of their dealers’ service centers and body shops while addressing concerns with the division.
Their solution involved expanding coverage on older model vehicles, expansive pricing reductions, and a monumental decrease in parts complexity — making for a leaner, more efficient Motorcraft.
“We are listening to our customers and taking significant steps to give them what they want,” said Marc Liskey, manager, Repair Product Planning Maintenance & Light Repair, North America. “Offering competitive pricing and consolidating parts will make it easier to stock and sell Motorcraft parts, helping dealers, distributors and installers to do their job more effectively and improving customer satisfaction in the process.”
While parts amalgamation should improve overall availability, it is also minimizing expenses across the board. Automotive News spoke with Brett Wheatley, Ford’s executive director of its North American customer service division, who noted a 32-percent reduction in redundant shock parts. Those 400 eliminated damper components reduced average dealer inventory costs by around $20,000. Ford even bragged that the brand had cut the number of oxygen sensors it was required to stock from 24 to one.
“We’re doing it across the board on all of our product lines,” Wheatley said. “We’ve redesigned the product to have less overlap. Some parts have been a total redesign.”
Motorcraft may have fewer parts numbers to log overall, but it will actually have more individual components on hand for older model Fords (going as far back as the early 1990s). Considering that the average American car is older than ever before, it’s a wise attempt to snag more of the automotive parts market for itself.
Ford believes the recent renovations to Motorcraft are already yielding positive results. Wheatley told Automotive News that the company’s 15 percent price reduction in brake pads boosted sales by 8 percent within the first few months.
The company has also seen a 60-percent increase in its advertising budget from a year ago, primarily to help raise awareness of the parts group’s extensive reconditioning. While you’ll continue to see Motorcraft’s logo on Ryan Blaney and NASCAR’s the company is also rolling out free swag and merchandise with the brand’s name. It also anticipates an uptick in magazine spots and a national television campaign featuring Ford’s current service spokesman, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
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Ford has always run a decent and very profitable parts business. I like their base 4 part number system which allows for easy tracking, identification and categorization of parts, unlike some other automakers. Ford's problem, however, is exactly what they appear to have identified. Traditionally not enough harmonization at the engineering level. 4.6L Windsor and 4.6L Romeo had a good deal of parts that weren't shared for little apparent reason. Try and figure that one out at the parts counter. Meanwhile at GM, the whole series of LS engines are basically Legos.
I love all the talk how "Ford is so smart for finally figuring out that they should stock parts for 10+ years" Any of you guys ever owned a Toyota? Check how many mechanical parts are available for 20-25 year old products, direct from any dealer website, in stock at the DC ready to ship that day...gotta by like 95%. Even body and trim parts are pretty much available for 15-20 years. If it's a common model, even longer. They KILL Ford and everyone else at the parts game, and have for a LONG time. No wonder they remain on the road so long. Reliability combined with parts availability? What else can you want. Are they quality? Heck yes. The same suppliers that made the part when new, continue to supply. If your car is made in USA in the 1990s, when China/Mexico wasn't a thing, you will see every part show up stamped "USA" OR "Japan" Biggest issue is cost. As others have mentioned, warehousing is costly. Thus their parts are among the most expensive of any automaker, especially for older models. $250/ea control arms, $150 return hoses with no fittings, etc etc. I've bought BMW parts OEM that cost less than Toyota. But the quality is there, they aren't Chinese sourced, and they are in stock...... ...Unless you like throwing $50 Dorman Chinese sweat shop control arms on your older car and having the bushings wear out in under a year....