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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Where Ford loses to Tesla is with a dealership model that isn't streamlined.

As someone that sat through a few Tesla buying experiences with friends and family that bought Model 3's, Model S's and Model X's, this is one of the few things that need to change.

Going through the Mach-E reservation process is one clear example and there are many.

Tesla's model is what most people I speak to want.

ford dealership model
 

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When I stepped into the Ford dealership to check on my reservation, I felt like I had walked back in time. The salesmen were hovering at the door waiting for anyone to look their way. Once we entered, three of them followed us around. All they cared about was getting my info to add to their database (and start spamming me with emails within a hour of the visit). The dealer itself felt old ... and low-end. We couldn't wait to get out of the dealership.

The Tesla dealership was the exact opposite. The salesmen didn't hover or ask for my info. They greeted us and invited us to sit in all of the cars, and reach out to them if we had questions. We spent over an hour playing around in the cars.

My biggest hope is the Mach-e is extremely reliable so I never have to go back to dealership after I pick up the car.
 

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Eh ... I have to drive 6 hours to test drive a Tesla or get service. I used their "test drive a Tesla" form 2 weeks ago. Not a single contact from anyone about it.

Both have their drawbacks. I'm not spending 60k on a car sight unseen.

The biggest reason I'm going Mach-E over Tesla is I have 2 dealers in town I can deal directly with. Frankly they are both good too - so it's always YMMV with these things.
 

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I've never had a real problem with car dealers. For the last 6 cars we've bought going back to 2006 I've shopped the dealers' online inventories, contacted dealers thru their website, and usually had a price in hand before I showed up for a scheduled test drive with someone in their internet sales dept. Right now Tesla customers accept the wait for ordering a new vehicle because there isn't really anything remotely comparable on any dealer lots. That will change...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've never had a real problem with car dealers. For the last 6 cars we've bought going back to 2006 I've shopped the dealers' online inventories, contacted dealers thru their website, and usually had a price in hand before I showed up for a scheduled test drive with someone in their internet sales dept. Right now Tesla customers accept the wait for ordering a new vehicle because there isn't really anything remotely comparable on any dealer lots. That will change...
On that point about Tesla, I bet as that change comes around so will Tesla stock.
 

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Dealers suck but I'm happy to use their greed to get myself the best deal. I will buy the car. I'm just looking for the guy who wants to sell it to me the most.

The one thing I really wish dealers would do is mobile service. My coworker has had Tesla come out to the office to do some work. My FIL is hundreds of miles from a SC and mobile service has worked on his car in the driveway. Dead simple and no time wasted taking the car to the shop. I want that.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ford is finally updating the whole new car buying experience.

"An indication as to just how important the web will be in driving Mach-E sales has surfaced over in the US. Of 1712 reservations made for the Mach-E in the Southern California area, just 92 were made in the showroom."

Of course, it took those numbers to make it possible.

more:

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"Roelant de Waard tells us how Ford will bring the way it sells cars bang up to date

At the European public debut of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, we spoke to General Manager of Passenger Vehicles at Ford Europe, Roelant de Waard. As well as taking us through some of the highlights of the brand's first mainstream EV, we also took the chance to pick his brains about how Ford is modernising the way people go about buying its cars.

For over a decade now the process of looking for, and buying a car has increasingly made its way online. According to various studies, and de Waard himself, car buyers make an average of just 1.2 visits to a dealer before buying a car. In the past, car buyers might have had to go in three or four times before handing over their credit card for the initial browse, to get a brochure, go back and take a test drive, then spec their car, before finally going in to pick it up.

But if you've ever bought a car, unless you're a bit of a sadist repeated trips to the dealership are probably the last thing you want to put yourself through.

Roelant, and Ford, understand this. More to the point, they understand that buyer needs and behaviour is changing and when it comes to EVs, it's pulling in different directions to the 'traditional' car buying process. For de Waard, it's about providing choice in the way people buy cars: “If they (the car buyer) want to go to a dealer, the answer has to be yes, but if they want to buy online, the answer also has to be yes,” he told us.

“Ford want to be innovators and roll out online sales across dealers,” he continued. Specifically with EV customers, he recognises that there is an increasing trend towards tech nativity. “EV customers typically are more tech savvy, and a higher user of the web in general so there is a correlation (between the types of people buying cars and how they want to buy them).”

Making the most of the web

These days, whether you're buying a mattress or a Mustang Mach-E, the chances are you're going to spend a lot of time researching online before even contemplating talking to a purveyor of such goods. Google reckons that 92 per cent of people research online before buying, only stepping into a dealership after consuming information from up to 24 touchpoints according to US automotive web specialist, Dealerwebb.

Ford realises this, so if you're in the market for a Mach-E or any of its other electrified cars, it wants to ensure you have an online experience that is up to scratch. In 2019 it launched the 'All Electric' campaign based around a microsite and took on the task of providing some education for unfamiliar customers around EVs. The beauty of the web, for de Waard, is in its ability to deliver targeted, and controlled messages to unfamiliar customers.

“The web is very good for tailoring the experience and information for people who haven't necessarily driven an EV before – it enables personalisation of info. So for example it's possible to do explainers and have control over that information and ensure that it's correct at the point of being delivered,” he said.

From the web to the showroom

This task of getting the digital experience right for Ford’s new generation of EV customers stretches far beyond a fancy landing page and some nice interactive web tools. Blending the experience customers have online to that they have offline – when they finally contact a dealer – is one of Ford’s biggest challenges. In fact, it’s one of the biggest challenges facing the business of selling cars as a whole.

One way that Ford is trying to tie things together is in updating its customer service infrastructure, and in the way that sales are made in the dealerships themselves. In the run-up to the Mach-E deliveries beginning (read more about that here) Ford is overhauling its call centres and digital technology to ensure that any enquiries are passed onto the customer’s preferred dealer.

This will hopefully mean that if you’ve been on Ford’s main website, configured your Mustang Mach-E and made an enquiry, when you walk into the dealership there’s a better than ever chance that the dealer will have that information.

“The Ford module that’s on the web (through which customers will be able to configure and buy online) will be the same tool as used in the dealership, so the customer and salesperson can go through the process together (in the dealership), or remotely via a Q&A online, so it’s consumer-driven,” de Waard told us.

If our understanding is correct, this means that customers will be able to call up their fully-spec’d car that they have saved while browsing at home and present it to the dealer who can simply sort out the paperwork.

An indication as to just how important the web will be in driving Mach-E sales has surfaced over in the US. Of 1712 reservations made for the Mach-E in the Southern California area, just 92 were made in the showroom. Obviously, with a refundable deposit and no cars to actually see at a dealership, this is to be expected, but the fact is that the blended online to offline buying journey is real and in Ford’s case, is already happening with a car that that can’t even be driven yet.

Showroom overhaul

With the likes of Tesla already selling their cars from shop-style retail spaces rather than dealerships, and new entrants to the market like NIO and Aiways planning on online sales, the traditional franchised dealership model is under threat. It’s not just disruptive brands that are exploring a non-dealership model, with well-established brands like Porsche, Mercedes and SEAT exploring highly-digitised ‘shops’ and finding customers – especially from younger generations – extremely perceptive to the concept.

Being the world’s first volume car brand, Ford has a bigger task than most if it’s going to reimagine the way it sells cars. Its unwieldy size makes change slow to implement – something we have seen in its relatively tardy entry into the electrified car market. But the company is moving to ensure that when the Mustang Mach-E lands in October, it will be ready.

Across Europe Ford is already working with 1700 of its 5000-strong franchised network to turn them into EV specialists, especially on the service and repair side of the coin. De Waard told us: “Every dealer will be able to do a portion of the sales and fulfilment process, but specialist dealers will deal with the mechanical side of things. In term of corporate image, the specialists will have additional standards such as charging and a different sales process.”

On the point of servicing and repair, Ford has implemented a similarly forward-thinking and high-tech way of allowing mechanics to get familiar with the car before they ever get their hands on it. Over in the US, the brand has teamed up with its component supplier, Bosch, and is using Oculus VR headsets to immerse mechanics in a virtual version of a Mach-E service bay. They can get familiar with tools, high-voltage systems and diagnostics so that when they're faced with a real car, everything should be that bit more familiar.

Back on the sales side of things, we know by first-hand experience that some dealers are pretty clueless when it comes to the EVs they're flogging, and in rare cases will try and sell an ICE car instead. Ford is trying to nip this issue in the bud before the Mustang Mach-E ever graces a showroom. When we enquired how, Roelant was firm and confident in his answer.

“Lots of training! Just as customers aren’t familiar with EVs, so are dealers. There’s a lot of misinformation in the marketplace, so Ford started our Go Electric campaign in 2019 which offers online tools and explainers as to what vehicle might be right for a customer,” he said. “Tech helps, but training is key.”

You can find out more about the Go Electric roadshow here.

Life left in the dealership model

With modernisation and training, de Waard is confident that at least for now, traditional car dealerships still have a plenty of life left.

“Franchised dealers have a long future ahead of them,” he said. “If you look at online sales it will grow but it will still be a minority. It's not necessarily the dealers that will become obsolete, it's the intense process of going five or six times and doing all your homework and visiting various dealers will become obsolete. What this means is the sales process will become much more efficient, because when a customer visits a dealer the dealer will know that the customer has done their homework and the dealer simply needs to fulfil the sale.”

It will be more than click and collect, though, and de Waard is confident that whilst buying a car might become more digitised, it’s unlikely to ever become commoditised.

“There are important differences (to other types of retail). One is the complexity of the product – a lot of customers are not familiar with EVs. Then there's the matter of trade-in; there are virtually no other businesses when customers bring in their old product to swap it for new. It's here where the dealer has an almost unique role to play. Then there is the third element that is, as long as things can happen to a vehicle – maintenance or accident – customers value having a relationship with a business that can deal with it,” he said.

As we said at the top of this article, for Ford it comes down to providing the customer with choice of how they interact and progress their own personal buying journey. Rather than dictating a route to buying one of its electrified cars, Ford is aiming to be there to provide the pathways to the destination and let people choose which way they go.
De Waard draws parallels between the way people buy other goods, taking some traditionally physical purchases online and making other traditionally online purchases in store: “It's a bit like how Amazon sell food and Apple have got stores. People like going to Apple stores to talk to the Geniuses, but others like to do everything online. People are going both ways so Ford wants to give the customer the choice of how to engage. There's always a physical arm to vehicle purchase – in delivery. As long as there's a physical element like this, even if the sale is completed online someone has to deliver the car so there will always be some form of interaction.”

Despite his reassurances that the franchised network is here to stay, Ford is already looking to cut its UK dealer network almost in half in the coming years. Auto Retail Network reports that it’s looking to drop its network from 400 dealerships down to 220 to bring it closer into line with rivals like Vauxhall and VW, the latter of which sells almost twice the number of cars per franchise as Ford does. However, rather than taking an axe to its network Ford is looking for dealers to volunteer to drop the blue oval. The upshot should be a tighter, better quality network that is better-equipped to cater for tech-savvy EV buyers in the long-run.

A new, old-fashioned disruptor

When talking to Roelant de Waard you get the impression of someone who’s almost bullish in his belief in Ford’s ability to be agile and not only respond to the market, but also to lead it. When we mentioned the new disruptive brands coming out of Silicon Valley, the wider USA, China and Europe he is unfazed. In fact, he relishes Ford’s opportunity to go toe-to-toe with them, stating that there’s nothing that other EV makers can do that Ford can’t. And he specifically name-dropped Tesla in that.

He admitted that this competition with disruptive brands isn’t only healthy (“it keeps us on our toes!”), it’s good for the consumer – forcing Ford to innovate and come up with its own disruptive ways of working. This includes taking the drastic step of reducing its physical dealer network size. Some old habits do die hard, however, and in the case of Ford it’s more of a lurch away from ICE and into EVs, rather than a smooth transition between the two.

But whilst that side of the business is playing catch-up, the customer experience part – the bit that matters to you as a consumer – is becoming a slimmed-down, dynamic entity that is positioning itself ahead of the competition."
~ DiscoverEV.co.uk

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"Ford Mustang Mach-E: Dealers Snubbed In Favor Of Online Ordering

Nearly all reservations so far have been made online.

Reports are suggesting that almost nobody (at least in the Southern California region) is ordering the Ford Mustang Mach-E from dealers. No surprise there, since visiting dealerships can be a pain. Almost all reservations to date have been made online through Ford's website. This follows Tesla's model of online orders being the primary method of choice for buyers of Tesla's electric cars. This is especially true for Tesla's newer vehicles like the Model 3 and Model Y.

According to CarsDirect:

A bulletin to Southern California Ford dealers reviewed by CarsDirect reveals that nearly every reservation for the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is being made online in the SoCal region.

Also of interest are Mach-E reservation counts in Ford's Los Angeles marketing region, which were also divulged in the bulletin.

Galpin Ford in Van Nuys leads the pack with 97 reservations at present. Other top dealers in the region include Tuttle-Click Ford in Irvine (78), Santa Monica Ford (72), and South Bay Ford in Torrance (63).
According to Ford, just 92 out of 1,712 reservations in the SoCalregion were made at dealerships. The rest were made online.

Favoring online ordering isn't really a surprise to us though. First of all, there are no Mach-Es at dealerships to go check out, so what would be the point in driving to a dealer to place an order. Secondly, many electric car buyers have shown a preference to place orders online. Lastly, let's remember that an order, in this case, is really just a refundable deposit ($500) at this point in time.

In regards to which versions of the Mach-E most SoCal reservation holders are choosing, the breakdown is as follows:

  • 80% were for the optional extended range battery
  • 55% were for all-wheel-drive
  • 30% opted for the sportier GT trim
We've included some of the information on how reserving a Mach-E works from Ford's website below. You can read it in its entirety here." ~ InsideEV's

Reservation.
You may be able to configure a Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicle (the “Vehicle”) through the Reservation Process (“Reservation”). By completing the Reservation Process, you are not ordering or purchasing a vehicle. The Reservation Process allows you to configure a Vehicle and pay the Reservation Deposit (“Reservation Deposit”) to Ford. Participation in the Program does not guarantee you vehicle delivery. You must contact a Dealer to discuss final transaction pricing, arrange any necessary financing, and complete your purchase of the Vehicle. Your Reservation does not guarantee a set price for the Vehicle. The Dealer sets the Vehicle price, which may differ from the MSRP. Unless otherwise indicated, MSRP is the manufacturer suggested retail price and does not include destination/delivery fee plus government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer processing charge, any electronic filing charge, and any emission testing charge. Optional equipment not included.

Reservation Process.
In order to complete the Reservation Process, you will be required to (1) create and/or login to your Ford account, (2) submit certain information to Ford, and (3) pay a refundable Reservation Deposit of $500 to Ford. Ford will hold Reservation Deposits and will not pay interest on Reservation Deposits. Any interest earned on the account will be the sole property of Ford.

Vehicle Specifications, Configuration and Battery Range.
You understand that we may not have completed the development of the Vehicle or begun manufacturing the Vehicle at the time of your Reservation. By agreeing to these Terms, you represent and warrant to us that you understand that the Vehicle configuration may change prior to execution of a sales agreement between you and a Dealer.

No Purchase Requirement.
The Program does not require you to complete a vehicle purchase, finance, or lease contract. If you change your mind before you have entered into a contract with your Dealer, you may cancel your Reservation
~ Inside EV's
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Anybody else think that 1712 reservations seems awfully small for the SoCal region?
Depends.

We need to see what exact timeline that reservation number falls along. It's the type of information we'll only learn from Ford corporate with a sales report. For now, we can look at Mach-E sales per dealer. Some of them are disclosing reservation numbers. Like Sunnyvale Ford in California...

Steve Fuentes, president of Sunnyvale Ford, told the Detroit Free Press:

"We’re up to 100 reservations now. The Mustang Mach-E has had a tremendous positive response. This is one of the biggest game-changers we’ve ever had.


That was from a report published during the first week of January.
 

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Ford has stated that there is such a large number of reservations from California, they will fill the orders from the other 49 states first to ensure product saturation across the country. The more people see it on the roads, the better for them.

So if you are in California and want one this year, get your reservations in now. First come, first served.
 

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Please cite the source. Thank you!
I have to start bookmarking this stuff. I’m looking for it now. Please be patient :)

...Update...
OMG...WE are the source (MachEClub) from @St00k interview with Jason Mase of Ford. Which was then posted in several articles around the internet. Lol, you can’t make this stuff up!
 

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I have to start bookmarking this stuff. I’m looking for it now. Please be patient :)

...Update...
OMG...WE are the source (MachEClub) from @St00k interview with Jason Mase of Ford. Which was then posted in several articles around the internet. Lol, you can’t make this stuff up!
Thanks for tracking that down. I think you are referring to this post?

St00k reported that Jason said "all 50 states will get Q4 deliveries." You are then stating it here as California last. That was the part that piqued my interest -- it seemed unusual (and new info).
 

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Misinformation spreads like wildfire. That while nonsense about Europe getting all the cars first was widely reported and started at the forums too.
 

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Misinformation spreads like wildfire. That while nonsense about Europe getting all the cars first was widely reported and started at the forums too.
Yes I saw that too. That false info was started here (MachEClub) and was widely circulated. Too much misinformation being spread all in the name of getting more clicks.
 

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I shouldn’t have used the word ‘first’, which suggests California will get their units last. My apologies. The actual wording of the original Post is:

“Q: What deliveries will take place in Q4? Just the First Edition?
A: First Edition will be delivered in Q4 as well as some Premium, Select, and Calif Route 1 models. He also added that all 50 states will get Q4 deliveries, regardless of the reservation number. They want to make sure that it's not just a bunch of models all getting shipped to California.”

the wording indicates that this is paraphrased, which I perpetuated by paraphrasing someone who paraphrased that post on their website. I wonder what the word-for-word transcription from the actual interview says. It may help clarify things a bit.
 

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Anyone know if the Mach-e AWD will be able to be selected for RWD only for better range. Would be a great ECO feature as AWD will not be needed often
 
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