By on December 19, 2016

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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 #21, 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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60 Comments on “Ford Revamps Motorcraft Parts, Hoping for Happier Dealerships and Big Profits...”

  • avatar

    “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.”

    Welcome to the ‘new gig’ economy that even high-level, c-suite executives at Ford see enveloping the predominant majority of the country, where soon Motorcraft NIB parts will be seen under glass at Terry’s Pawn & Title Shop & Quick Cash Advance.

    Got your “side hustle” on?

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly how is this going to create a black market for ford parts? Is that even what you’re saying? Usually the trolling has a general “anti-gm/cadillac” vibe going on, but I can’t make heads or tails of this one.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford (and others) realize (and are no longer ignoring) that there’s a huge, growing replacement parts segment out there, which Rock Auto, Advanced Auto, AutoZone, O’Reilly’s, etc, have been making bank on, and they want a much larger piece of that pie as people hold on to their vehicles for longer and longer time frames.

        My comment above was making reference to the fact that replacement parts will become so ubiquitous that they’ll form a larger % of the black/grey market, and viewed as valuable commodities, like Tide in the inner cities.

        • 0 avatar

          I find it hard to see anything nefarious in Ford’s recognition that increasingly poor ordinary Americans are buying more and more parts to keep old cars running, and Ford is recognizing that need and responding to it by streamlining its business model to serve them.

          It’s certainly more noble to meet the needs of the cash-strapped than it is to make them that way, a la Uber, Amazon, Walmart, etc.

          If anything, Ford — its export of jobs to Mexico notwithstanding — is far more a provider of decent livings to Americans than, say, that other American-badged giant car company who recently marketed the first-ever Chinese-built car to be sold here.

          • 0 avatar

            This is SMART BUSINESS by Ford, not nefarious.

            The sad thing is that it’s in response to deteriorating economic conditions for the part of the American Society comprising a part of the socioeconomic pie that is falling further and further behind, with that portion of the pie growing at the fastest rate since the 1930s.

          • 0 avatar

            He hates Ford equally and even more irrationally. Oh, they’ve never made a good car, Consumer Reports created a special “NEVER BUY” rating just for Ford products, and their popularity/continuing success is due to evil forces standing on the backs of crippled old ladies and puppys with paid shills hiding the “truth”. Everything Ford does is sinister and greedy and hateful and awful.

            He trolls me because I happen like Ford (among many other cars, and damn sure not every Ford) and am outspoken, so naturally I’m a crazed nut who thinks every rusty Freestar that just puked its third trans with 140k on the clock is the best car on God’s green (or white in places like the rust belt lol) Earth above all others, and therefore must be called out for my bastardized “opinion”.

            But, the Jeep Patriot is a good car.

          • 0 avatar

            I would talk to Volvo North America or Honda North America about Chinese-built cars before I would GM.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “Those 400 eliminated damper components reduced average dealer inventory costs by around $20,000”

    Professional organization I used to belong to calculated inventory carrying costs @ 28%. Reducing inventory without sacrificing your service levels has a big impact on the bottom line.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Carlson Fan,
      About 15 years ago the institution I work for stated it cost $400 to just maintain each and every item on the data base. This does not include warehousing and shipping.

      We must manage 10s or even 100s of thousands of items.

  • avatar

    But still no Mk. VIII HID bulbs?

  • avatar

    So does this mean that Ford isn’t going to use 30 different HVAC computers for each permutation of heated seats, cold weather package, and climate controls on an F-150?

  • avatar

    Tell me more about these ‘break pads’

  • avatar

    Damn photo hurts my head. It’s as if C.M. Escher went car guy.

  • avatar

    Well good I guess. I have an 80’s Ford that shares most of it’s mechanical parts with a Fox Mustang so Motorcraft parts availability hasn’t been much of an issue for me.

    • 0 avatar

      I find Motorcraft NOS (New Old Stock) parts on aftermarket sites all the time.

      Only problem is, if the part was updated since to correct a defect, you may end up with the old part. Hasn’t happened to me that I know of, but its worth considering when buying NOS parts from any make/brand/site.

      I buy dealer-only type oil filters on eBay in lots, like for my parent’s Taurus (I do the oil changes, and it takes a Motorcraft filter not stocked by any place like Walmart or auto parts chains that I’ve found). Works out far cheaper than buying them at the Ford dealer.

      I buy the Motorcraft FL-400S filter for my ’95 locally at Walmart. I have probably bought 100s of those in my adult life lol. Not just my cars, but parents and friends.

    • 0 avatar

      What I want is a clean…as in no rust….. 1965 Falcon. Imagine such a barn find. You’d probably be able to purchase it for $100. All the mechanical bits are the same as a 65 Mustang, all still available new and dirt cheap.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve had an 88 Thunderbird (last of the Fox-Body Thunderbirds) for the past 14 years. Getting mechanical/suspension parts has been easy thanks to the Fox Mustang aftermarket. Heck even Ford still makes Fox body parts because Mustang.

        Even now you can pick up pretty much any Fox Body as long as it’s not a Mustang for cheap and mod away.

      • 0 avatar

        i coulda bought a falcon about 20 years ago. 64 maybe, straight 6. from a mexican co wortker in so cal for prolly 2k. janky as hell. he was driving a VW fox at the time and was flipping cars.

        i DID end up buying a 75 MG midget he flipped to me for $800. fun as hell. ended up getting my own place and whoa- no smog controls. i made the car right and got rid of it for $1100, due to some turd welding a cat, and rebolting some IAC missing stuff.

        i figure it was a wash.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah I cant imagine how Ford blundered in to that? Definitely not a company where you envied the parts guy!

      Just take the example of its old pushrod V8 engines – all rolling at the same time with not a lot of commonality. In 1970 you had

      302 Windsor
      302 Boss
      351 Windsor
      351 Cleveland
      351 Modified
      400 Modified
      428 FE
      429 Lima (385 series)
      429 Boss
      460 Lima

      The 302 Windsor even used smaller head bolts compared to its 351 Windsor counterpart. The tall and short decks were cool and the differing timing chain covers made sense but why different diameter head bolts???

      Things sorta looked up when Ford rolled out the MOD engines but even then depending on where the engine was made (Windsor or Cleveland IIRC) you could have different timing chain covers for the same displacement engine!

      They really did some weird stuff at Ford that seemed based entirely around micro managing the penny pinching process and traded the savings made with volume for just plain reduction in materials used while leaving the Motorcraft parts guys to sort the entire mess out.

  • avatar

    Does Ford do what GM does ?

    If I want a Caddy part, I get a Caddy OE part (i.e. one set of break, er, brake pads, CTS, Front) $185
    If I want a GM Professional Part-it is $75
    If I want a GM Advantage Part- it is $45.

    Advantage is the “we have to compete with China”, or at least OUR china parts.
    Professional looks just that but isn’t the exact part OE.
    OE is what came off the car first.

    Needlessly confusing to have three “official” replacement parts some of which are the same and some of which are definitely not.

    The guys at the dealer first offer you the Professional Part, and if you ask, will then price the OE part. I’m sure most indy mechanics use Professional if they use any OE parts. They have a longer warranty to a professional user.

    I never saw this with any other car company “OE” stuff.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford had three levels of brake pads, Motorcraft retail spec, Standard Duty pads, Motorcraft retail spec Severe Duty pads, and the OEM pads. Generally we sell the standard duty pads, except sometimes Ford doesn’t sell that version for some cars, and sometimes the OEM pads are actually the same price or cheaper than the retail spec pads. It can be confusing.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX and Amazon have gotten *a lot* of my business for car parts, but I do my own work. I can’t imagine paying dealer labor and parts prices for repairs, and am fortunate that I don’t have to.

    Perhaps Ford is trying to win more of the business that teeters between the home mechanic (or independent shop) and the dealer shop.

    Unless it’s a warranty repair, I avoid the dealer.

    • 0 avatar

      They are cutting prices, and probably using leverage to hammer the actual suppliers that make these parts downstream (they may have more leverage to do so if auto sales slow as predicted, despite consolidation in the supplier business for the last 4 years), so this would indicate that they’re intending on trying to compete with discount auto parts sellers.

      If auto sales slump precipitously in the U.S. and China over the 2017 to 2019 period, it’s going to be hard for suppliers, even now larger post-consolidation, to fight price cuts, unless they are willing to forego revenue and idle capacity.

    • 0 avatar

      I dunno if their aim is to draw in more DIYers. In the age of the intranetz, I manage to stay out of the stealerships entirely. If I can’t get it at Vato Zone, or Rock, I head over to flea-Bay. I have not been to dealers’ parts counter in years. Fact is that before online became a thing, sometimes the dealer was unavoidable. Almost all of my experiences with dealer parts departments were…um, unpleasant. Once the person behind the parts counter finds out you don’t have an account, that confirms you are a DIYer, and as such lower then whale sh1t and from that point you’re treated accordingly.

      No, I think this is an attempt to lower dealer repair prices and grab non-warranty work away from independent and chain repair shops.

      • 0 avatar

        I think, now, after re-reading this, that you are indeed correct.

        The price cuts and strategy regarding streamlining the # of total parts is clearly geared towards helping dealership service departments grab more retail (non-warranty) business and steal it from chain and independent repair shops.

      • 0 avatar

        It is not focused on any one area. You’ll find that you can buy Motorcraft parts at O’reilly and other outlets that cater to DIy’ers. They have been advertising the lower prices and increased coverage in industry trade publications aimed at independent shops. Local dealers have also been touting new lower parts prices. So they are covering all the bases.

      • 0 avatar

        i get OEM toyota parts on flea-bay from real dealers with real discounts. they all have good ratingsfor a long time, so no issues so far.

        recent purchase was upgraded akibono(?)xA aftermarket ceramic pads with an awesome rating for long wear and no brake dust.

  • avatar

    Something tells me I’ll still be paying a 3000% markup.

  • avatar

    You should see how some guys I know install them.

  • avatar

    And coincidentally, this post runs on a day where Motorcraft gets the background ads on the home page.

    I haven’t owned a Ford in some 15 years. If I can’t do it myself, I have a guy. But neither one of us liked to deal with the former Ford dealership in our suburb. Maybe it’s different now, but I don’t care to find out.

    In a twist, I find that I get better pricing on batteries, wiper blades and a few other parts at my local Buick/GMC dealer. They even beat out the “GM Parts Superstore” (their description, not mine) down the street from them. The parts guys at the Buick/GMC store have been really good about doing stuff, fixing my defective key fobs for free and cutting keys cheaper than Ace Hardware. I can’t complain.

    Finally, I also want some break pads. Egads.

    • 0 avatar

      “And coincidentally, this post runs on a day where Motorcraft gets the background ads on the home page.”

      it’s because the page has “Motorcraft” on it. Internet Ad servers decide what ads to send based on things like page content and even your own browsing history. You and I can load up this page at the same time and we’ll probably see different ads. Right now I have “Toyotathon” ads displaying.

  • avatar

    Finally! It always baffled me why, while so many older cars are rolling around, OEM parts makers are readily giving profits up to the auto parts store’s generic brands (or salvage yards if it can’t be found otherwise).

    I’ve had old cars. I’d have killed for original OEM brand parts in some cases. Ford finally got it. If you can’t sell a new car, at least rake in the cash they spend to keep your older product running.

    • 0 avatar

      In the early days of the automobile some car makers sued ‘non authorized’ makers and suppliers of replacement parts. Henry Ford claimed that he would give away his cars if he were allowed a monopoly for replacement parts. The courts ruled that granting the car makers a monopoly on replacement parts was not in the best interest of consumers. The courts also realized that replacement parts monopolies were not in the best long term interest of the fledgling auto industry. Also take into consideration that from the early days of automobiles, a car rarely lasted 10 years on the road. The auto manufacturers made a tidy little parts profit for cars that were just off warranty, but making and keeping inventory for 15 year old cars was hardly worth their time. Now, as cars typically last 10 years or more, the suits at the auto companies are realizing that they’re missing out on the replacement parts market for older cars.

  • avatar

    I tend to own the mainstream cars and trucks, with typical options. Yeah boring, and now I know why.

    Parts are always found everywhere. Dealer/aftermarket/used. Yes I’d likely own a Land Rover or Jag if I was in merry old England. Otherwise it’s a dumb idea. Even if they were reliable.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Since we are talking Ford parts.

    As far as I can tell from Google my front diff is an open 7.5″. I want to buy an E-locker for it. This will match the Ford E-locker, 31 spline 8.8″ rear diff, offering me better off road tracion.

    I will be living and working in Seattle (area) in about 3 weeks. Here in Australia a Harrop E-locker kit is around $1800AUD (I think expensive). I’m hoping the US has an E-locker kit much cheaper.

    I need a Ford whip or person with access to Ford info;

    1. Is my front diff a 7.5″? Or, what front diff is my 3.2 diesel 2012 BT50 running?

    2. Is it is a 7.5″ that was fitted to Mustangs?

    3. If it is, what US brand manufactures teliable E-locker kits? Or what E-locker kit do I require?

    Thank you for anyonekl who can assist.

    • 0 avatar

      Big Al,

      You won’t need a locking front diff to drive around in Seattle. If it snows here (once every 3-5 years), you simply stay home that day, as the most dangerous thing is the other drivers in their 4×4 SUVs on wore-down all-season tires.

      Let me know if you want to get together for a pint once you get here – I’m just east of the city in Redmond.

    • 0 avatar

      – I don’t know what front differential housing you have. I would guess it’s one step down from the larger F-150, which usually has an 8.8″ in the front. So that would suggest a 7.5″ is likely for your truck.

      – Some Mustangs got the 7.5″ rear, but many got the 8.8″. Usually V8s got the 8.8″. Bear in mind that there are minor differences in differentials that were fitted with axles as opposed to those fitted with half-shafts. The Mustang Cobra got an aluminum 8.8″ housing with IRS, and the MN12 Thunderbird had an iron 8.8″ housing with a different IRS. The newest Mustang has a different IRS with an 8.8″ housing, but it is much different from either of the older ones. I assume that your truck has IFS?

      – In the USA, you can get E-locker kits from Eaton. I would assume that this is the same as a Harrop kit, since Harrop is closely linked to Eaton in terms of supercharger design and marketing. I think Eaton is the source of most parts, with Harrop in charge of localization.

      – I think Eaton’s E-locker kit is only for 8.8″ differentials. Someone else may make a locker for 7.5″ diffs, but it’s popular to upgrade to the larger and stronger differential, so a 7.5″ kit may be rare from any source.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Thanks SP,
        The front diff has stub axles either side. Then shafts to each front wheel (IFS).

        My friend here just got an E-locker for his Nissan Patrol front axle (live) on his birthday (an understanding wife) for $400 AUD. The Ranger/BT50 diff lock is $1800AUD or around $1100USD.

        If you are correct I might have to buy the lock here. Thanks again.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Oh, if the diff is a 7.5″ then the Aussie produced Harrop is the only E-locker around.

  • avatar

    Yea but has anyone else noticed this epic masterpiece of a job title?

    “Marc Liskey, manager, Repair Product Planning Maintenance & Light Repair, North America”

    Fit that on a business card.

  • avatar

    I have to say, whenever I go to the parts store or parts counter, or browse RockAuto, I think the margins I’m paying must be ridiculous, for each and every retail outlet to stock such a ridiculous number of SKU’s, many of which will still be sitting on those shelves the day the store closes.

    I can believe it’s super-frustrating for a dealership to have to stock such a wide variety of low-volume parts, or suffer slower repair turnaround if they don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Click REPLY to reload page

      Having worked in the auto parts business in the past, you are correct in your assumption. The markup on parts is very healthy (for the seller), and the cheesy accessories, seasonal bicycles, air fresheners, etc. are simply ridiculous. Employees’ wages (and hours) are, of course, as low as they can get away with.
      Auto parts stores don’t go out of business for lack of profit margin. When they do, it’s due to corporate strategies and mismanagement.

  • avatar

    “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.”

    My ’06 Mustang’s seat latch knobs (the ones you lift to let passengers in and out of the back seat) broke in 2008. I priced out replacements and they’re about $36 each for chintzy little plastic knobs that haven’t been improved. I can now buy a PAIR of METAL knobs from an aftermarket vendor for $36. This is what Ford has figured out.

    I find it interesting when people talk about warehousing costs being a huge cut in profit. Just a few miles from where I’m sitting is In the ’70s and ’80s the owner shopped every Ford dealer in this region and offered to buy all the old parts off their shelves. He bought at a huge discount, turned around, and offered a catalog of obsolete Ford parts. It turned into a multi-million dollar business. I think that warehousing costs are overblown just to keep managers from hoarding.

  • avatar

    Maybe they’ve figured out places like Rockauto are eating their lunch on parts?

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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….

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