'We have had to take some production capacity out, but the policy has been absolutely right for us,' he said. 'Our residual values were hitting us right across the business last year. Now the situation has reversed, and we are seeing a big increase in confidence in Ford products throughout the fleet industry.'
The control of used supply is also increasing as part of Ford's revitalised fleet policy. The Ford Direct programme is being rolled out on a regional basis across the country, as the manufacturer bids to buy back as many fleet vehicles as possible. 'We found that our customers did not have a lot of faith in used car dealer warranties,' said McAllister. 'The Ford Direct programme is designed to take away that cynicism and give buyers confidence in the system. By doing the reconditioning ourselves, we are taking out the uncertainty from used car buying.'
The scheme is being extended to incorporate cars with up to 50,000 miles on the clock and up to four years old. The process will now take place at specially selected and equipped dealerships, carried out by Ford Direct-trained technicians. Previously, only cars up to 18 months old and 22,000 miles were eligible.