Ford fights back to cut ownership cost
Initial program to cover Ranger, Everest, and Ecosport. Test units available at the Manila International Auto Show from April 5 - 8.
If a brand claims to be built “tough” and looks and rides good enough to be purchased, then in the long run, its buyers shouldn’t be muttering “tough to maintain,” right?
The Philippine experience with Ford vehicles, as far as maintenance goes, has had mixed reviews. In the Ford Everest Club of the Philippines Facebook page, a certain member named TJ posted: “Ford is a reliable car, especially the SUVs. When it comes to maintenance costs, (Ford is) a bit higher compared to the other brands, but it’s worth it.”
Another member, JC, commented: “Between Everest, (Mitsubishi) Montero and (Toyota) Fortuner, the maintenance for Fortuner is the most affordable.”
Ford Philippines seems to have noticed the growing concerns in its brand’s maintenance department. In a roundtable discussion-cum-press conference with local motoring media last March 23 at its Ford Global dealership in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, no less than the man at the top of the local “Blue Oval” office has proposed a solution.
On this occasion, Bertrand Lessard, Ford Group Philippines managing director, along with other high-level executives of Ford Philippines, declared that effective this April, the projected cost of ownership (CoO) of the five-year scheduled service maintenance for its top-three selling models should improve by an average of 17 percent, and further savings of an average of 15 percent would be extended if the pre-paid scheduled service plan (SSP) is purchased along with the new Ford vehicle.
To give this plan a “grand entrance,” so to speak, Ford Philippines will make this available for the top three Ford models (Ranger, Everest, and EcoSport) beginning at the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) at the World Trade Center from April 5 to 8.
The three vehicles can also be test-driven, even as Ford unveils new vehicles during the show.
Ford Philippines says this new deal complements its six-month service interval (or every 10,000 km, whichever comes first) service. Owners of the Ranger pickup, Everest and EcoSport SUVs need to visit their casa only twice a year.
On a per model basis, the CoO discounts for Ford Ranger is projected to be 15 percent, for the Everest 18 percent, while the EcoSport will enjoy the biggest discount at 20 percent.
These discounts will be applicable to the Ranger, Everest, and EcoSport model years 2012 and up, and implemented across all Ford dealerships nationwide.
Adjusted costs will be posted on the Ford Philippines website, as well as on its dealers’ websites.
The scope of the discounts covers the twice-a-year servicing interval, and basic scheduled maintenance parts such as fully synthetic engine oil (backward-compatible), filters (oil, engine air, pollen, and fuel), brake fluid, spark plugs, and gasket drain plug.
Ford Philippines hopes that these offers would further improve the brand’s competitiveness.
Lessard stressed, “We feel it’s important to discuss CoO because, when you buy a new vehicle, you’re excited because it’s new. But it’s not very exciting to think about oil changes. Like it or not, you have to pay to maintain your vehicle. Like it or not, you have to have it done at a Ford dealership with Ford parts maintained by a technician that’s been trained by Ford, so your vehicle will perform better, show better fuel economy, and be more durable.
“What we are saying here is that we can reduce that CoO significantly so your overall cost in owning a Ford is less expensive. We are also saying that if you purchase the pre-paid SSP package of five years, you would save another 15 percent in addition to the 17 percent, which is a lot of money.”
Lessard surmised that with the savings in maintenance, a Ford owner could have enough money left for the downpayment of another car after five years.
Erroll Duenas, Ford Group Philippines director for Customer Service Division, said: “The impression of motorists, in general, is that if you bring the vehicle to the casa or dealership for servicing, it’s more expensive. We want to change that impression. Our oils, for instance, are fully synthetic. They are designed for Ford vehicles, but expensive in the market, and much cheaper in the casa.”
Listening to customers
Duenas added: “We have listened to our customers. We have worked together with the dealers to address those issues. And we have come up with this solution.”
Sweet as these deals from the top may be, it would be wiser still for prospective Ford vehicle buyers to make the service and maintenance terms crystal clear with their dealerships.
Because, in reality, buyers would still have to conduct business with the dealers, and not with headquarters. Being built “tough” isn’t the same as being “tough to deal with”.
Focusing on the CoO issue can be the stroke of genius Ford Philippines needs to tip the scales to its favor, and it promises to be a truly tempting come-on come MIAS time. Being built “tough” doesn’t need to be a “tough sell.”
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