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Ford plans new RV focus

Date: 31 March 2010

Ford is increasing its focus on the causes of vehicle "price erosion" to improve its fleet offering.

While the carmaker is at the top of the corporate sector, managing director Nigel Sharp acknowledged it needs to understand further what drives RVs and look at short-cycle business to ensure value for customers.

"We need to work even closer with Cap and Glass's," Sharp said.

While short-cycle business is a concern, he stressed "some of its biggest volume customers are in short-cycle", highlighting its place in the market. Rental accounted for around 57,000 units in 2009, within total fleet sales of 170,000 for Ford.

Sharp added Ford was looking at what equipment in cars loses values further down the line. "Similarly, we will try and simplify the range," he said.

Ford has its own 1000-strong fleet that it closely monitors for RVs based on different in-car equipment. Motability, the biggest fleet player, is also currently trialling parking sensors on all its Ford models, to see if that adds value for customers.

Sharp admitted that Ford's steep price rises have made things tougher in the market and said less discounting would help it compete. "The fleet market would be better if transaction price was closer to list price," said Sharp. "Firstly, it is much more efficient, and secondly, there's a huge personal tax benefit."

While prices for the new Focus, expected at the turn of next year, are unknown, he added Ford would "aim to improve cost of ownership to fleets".

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