Ford in India is working hard on getting its basics right so that it can offer an unbeatable experience for Indian consumers.
The biggest story for Ford in 2016 is the ‘brand transformation’ mantra that they are nailing into the entire organisation and the dealerships. This idea lies over three pillars and the first one is centred on product-led innovation. Anurag Mehrotra, Executive Director, marketing, sales and service, Ford India added, “We have the youngest product portfolio and our oldest product is four months old. Starting from the Figo, Aspire, Ecosport (facelifted), Endeavour and the Mustang, the entire line up is fresh. So if anyone is looking for new products to buy, then Ford is probably the place for them to stop by.”
The second pillar revolves around breaking the myth that Ford cars are expensive to own. To counter the affordability bit, Ford reiterated that its sub-assembly strategy (child parts) is stronger than before. Cars like the latest Figo and Aspire have 800 sub assembly parts compared to the 200 sub assembly parts that the original Figo had in 2010. The more the number of sub assembly parts, the cheaper it is to maintain. Ford has also tackled the localisation level and while the localisation level on the 2010 Figo was 65 per cent, the new Figo and Aspire has 80 per cent localisation at launch. The higher the localisation, the lower the cost at which Ford can give parts to the customer.
In a bid to make its parts more accessible, Ford has opened up its parts distribution and now all owners can buy parts from outside the dealer network. Ford currently has 350 service centres and about 208 sales stores. More service centres are being added to the list every three weeks to make sure Ford service will become even more accessible. Transparency of the service rendered is another key initiative for the car maker. All an owner needs to do is furnish some details of their car on the official website, and the calculator will show what the maximum bill is likely to be with a list of all the jobs that will be carried out. Show this to the Ford workshop and they will not charge you anything more than that. Anurag confirmed, “We are cheaper to service than our competition by at least 6 to 12 per cent.”
The third pillar is about garnering trust from its customers by delivering nothing less than a phenomenal showroom experience. Ford has identified that showroom employees need to have the appropriate skill, and have taken up this challenge by introducing a psychometric test for sales consultants to attract individuals with the right attitude. Factory visits are conducted for sales associates to enhance their confidence while making their sales pitch. Attrition has also been successfully reduced by conducting regular rewards and recognition programs at the dealership level.
Anurag envisions that in the next four years, people will not buy cars because of the product or price. He said, “They will buy a particular brand because of the experience that it delivers. So if the experience that we can deliver at the dealership is differentiated, I am sure we will be able to hit the ball out of the park.”