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Transit Custom begins Ford's new CV focus

Date: 07 March 2013   |   Author:

The launch of the new Transit Custom is to coincide with Ford increasing attention on building it's van business, with closer integration between car and LCV, extended servicing hours and a new network of Transit centres.

"We are a great car company and a great LCV company but we're like two great companies and I want us to be one," Ford of Britain sales director Andy Barratt told BusinessCar. "We're making CVs more integral to marketing, sales and service to ensure the whole company and dealer body are focused on CVs.

"We're now joining it up - the same person can talk about cars and commercials."

Ford is about to announce a new aftersales initiative that will include launching new Transit specialist dealers will offer 24-hour servicing.

"At the moment we have about 100 specialist Transit dealers and a number of smaller dealers that sell a handful of CVs," said Barratt. "We'll end up with 80-100 Transit centres and it will be all about the quality and service promise - if dealers can't deliver then they shouldn't be a Transit centre."

The centres will conform to a service charter regarding quality of facilities, sales experience and technical expertise: "We're looking at the whole structure. They will have specialists to deal with customer needs and a truck-like mentality."

Barratt said dealers will offer "overnight servicing, mobile, out of hours, whatever the customer demands to do the job", as well as ensuring fleets that do their own servicing have the right access to training, tools and support. The move is in response to what Ford has identified as a changing sector. "The market is so dynamic - what was important yesterday isn't today," he explained. "During the downturn people were running vehicles longer so low-cost servicing was important. Now people are maybe moving to shorter running but fewer vehicles so they want no downtime."

Ford has extended the Transit Custom's service intervals to two years, rather than one, with a courtesy check at 12 months. "With 24-month service intervals a lot of fleet managers wanted their vehicles checked - tyres, brakes etc - from a duty of care point of view."

Barratt is also pushing a service he claims is unique among LCV operators. "Our roadside assist partner will offer load continuation, where if a Transit is unable to continue, we will drop the load at its destination and then recover the vehicle," he pledged.