In a radical shift from conventional sales practices, Ford Motor Company is set to transform the customer experience by selling cars directly to consumers via online platforms. Ford CEO Jim Farley envisions a fresh approach to auto sales which, he believes, will enhance the consumer experience and thereby bolster sales figures. His plan? Leapfrog the traditional dealership model, providing customers the freedom to buy cars directly online.
During Ford’s Capital Markets Day event earlier this week, Farley unveiled an ambitious roadmap, unveiling a next-generation electric vehicle platform, Level 3 autonomous driving technology, and setting a target of 8% pre-tax profit for pure electric vehicles. However, what may resonate most with consumers is a completely new vehicle purchasing experience.
Ford is committed to offering a more streamlined and friendly purchasing process for its next-generation EVs. Most importantly, this new model will eliminate the need for customers to haggle with salespeople over prices. “Starting in January, Model E customers will have flexible purchase options, online, in the store, with transparent pricing that they don’t have to haggle over, and remote vehicle delivery, and later pick up as well,” asserted Farley. Customers also have the liberty to choose between remote and deferred delivery options, making the entire process more adaptable to individual needs.
Furthermore, Ford disclosed plans to retail electric vehicles at newly established sales centers, promising a swift turnaround time of just ten days from order to delivery. Taking a leaf out of Tesla’s book, Ford intends to curtail vehicle inventory and pivot away from TV advertising, shifting its marketing focus towards building substantial customer relationships.
Last December, Farley unveiled a list of 1,920 dealerships that would partner with Ford in this new EV venture, representing about two-thirds of all Ford dealerships. This leaves one-third of existing Ford dealerships still engaged in traditional sales operations, limited to the sale of fuel-powered and hybrid vehicles, with no access to the new generation models.
This direct purchasing strategy, already validated by Tesla and various Chinese EV startups, promises a more comfortable experience for customers, while simultaneously reducing inventory and sales costs. Industry observers anticipate that Ford’s bold departure from the traditional dealership model will prompt other car manufacturers to follow suit. However, this evolution could pose a greater threat to job security for dealership staff and sales personnel than even the advent of AI technology.
(Image Source: Ford)