The head of Ford in the UK is assuring fleet managers that vehicle price rises do not necessarily mean wholelife costs are increasing.
Ford’s current strategy is seeing it move away from producing low-spec models across its range and the cost of its cars has gone up accordingly.
But Roelant de Waard, chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain, said the strategy is resulting in improved residual values which counteract the higher initial outlay for fleets.
Speaking to Fleet News at the launch of the new Kuga crossover vehicle, Mr de Waard said: “It’s proved to be a myth that customers of Kas and Fiestas only want the cheapest car.
“The biggest selling Ka is the Zetec Climate, which is very well equipped.
"And we are selling it in the same volumes as the entry models that we sold previously.
“With Fiesta we have effectively shifted from £7,000 to £9,000 cars.
“This is because the customer satisfaction is very much higher and they get all the technology they expect from a modern car and three years down the road you will have a used car that has all the expected features, so there is a better residual value.”
Ford is rolling back the discounts it has historically offered to corporate customers to reflect the improved RVs.
“Otherwise it doesn’t pay to introduce things like MP3 sockets, Bluetooth and so on,” Mr de Waard said, adding that recent real-life sales have proved his point.
“We have seen over the last two years that RVs have gone up and supply has been more balanced.
"We have to earn the trust of customers. It’s not about intent, it’s about actual behaviour and by now we have got a track record.
“It’s now translated into actual RVs rather than estimates – just look at the numbers.
"People can see exactly what we have done.”