Fleet News

Ford vows to retain franchised dealer network

FORD has vowed not to abandon its franchised dealer operations in Britain, whatever the legislative outcome of the New Car Pricing inquiry, due to be announced by Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers this weekend.

Speaking in defence of Block Exemption, Ford's UK chairman and managing director Ian McAllister claimed independent research had shown UK consumers were suspicious of multi-brand outlets. His comments came as the industry awaits the draft order by the Department of Trade and Industry in response to the Competition Commission's New Cars Inquiry.

McAllister questioned whether a multi-marque environment would be able to satisfy manufacturer-led fleet and retail needs such as demonstrator vehicles, be equipped to handle recalls, offer a trade-in infrastructure, or be prepared to invest in the technology required to service, maintain and repair different marques.

'We're an innovative breed of people yet no manufacturer has come up with an alternative because the principles of the existing one are right,' he said.

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