Fleet News

McAllister shrugs off dealership rumours

FORD has no plans to take over ownership of its entire dealer network but Britain's biggest vehicle manufacturer believes it can help franchises make more money by streamlining processes. Ford of Britain chairman and managing director Ian McAllister was speaking after the company had announced it had paid £20 million for a 49% stake in Pendragon's 29 Ford outlets.

The acquisition followed a similar move earlier this year which saw Ford take a 49% stake in a new trading company, Polar Motor Investments, which operates 11 car dealers and four commercial franchises, and which subsequently acquired Dagenham Motors which had 16 car and van dealerships and three Iveco Ford commercial vehicle dealerships.

Ford has 110 customer marketing areas across Britain in which there are 367 sales points plus a further 800 retail dealers. McAllister told Fleet NewsNet: 'We are not trying to take over and we will not move much from where we are now in terms of taking stakes in dealerships. But we have ideas about the way the businesses should work and we are trying to demonstrate to the dealer organisation that there is good money in dealerships if specific business practices are followed.'

By adopting uniform practices which will see operating costs reduced through streamlining processes and improving a customer's experience of a Ford dealership, McAllister believes dealers will become more profitable. 'Through the Polar, Pendragon and Dagenham dealerships we hope we can show the rest of the dealer network what can be achieved. If they follow suit we believe they will achieve superior returns,' he said.

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