No. 2 dealer criticizes Ford's F-150 strategy

No. 2 dealer criticizes Ford's F-150 strategy http://money.cnn.com/2007/02/03/news/companies/ford_dealer_compalint.reut/index.htm?postversion 07020311
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) -- The head of the second-largest Ford Motor Co dealership group on Friday said the automaker was not doing enough to defend the market-leading position of its F-series pickup trucks.
"What's really bothering us at Ford has been the weak F-Series sales the last two months," said Earl Hesterberg, chief executive officer of Group 1 Automotive Inc. (Charts)
The second-largest Ford dealer in the U.S. says Ford's efforts to defend its market leading F-150 franchise are not enough. "For most Ford dealers, especially dealers outside the urban areas, that's really our bread and butter," he said.
Sales of its F-Series pickup trucks, which have long ranked as the best-selling vehicles in America, were down 15 percent in January. The company has warned that it would see its overall market share fall through the third quarter.
Hesterberg, who was speaking on the sidelines of an automotive conference organized by J.D. Power, said Ford needed to shore up support for its F-Series trucks at the showroom floor.
"We certainly don't think Ford has been defending the F-Series for the past several months," he said. "Now what does that mean? Does it mean advertising? Does it mean incentives? I don't really know, but I can tell you other Ford dealers that I talk to - and we're the No. 2 Ford dealer-- for us the F-Series is our lifeblood."
Ford spokesman Jim Cain said U.S. pickup truck sales in recent months had been skewed by "fire sale" incentives intended to clear out inventory of Dodge Ram trucks from DaimlerChrysler AG (Charts) and the outgoing version of the Toyota Tundra.
Toyota tops Ford in latest sales Analysts have cautioned that Ford's F-series trucks also face tougher competition in coming months from revamped truck offerings from rivals General Motors Corp. (Charts) and Toyota Motor Co (Charts), which launches a redesigned Tundra this month.
But Cain said Ford also would benefit from the launch of a new version of its heavy duty F-series truck, the Super Duty. The Super Duty truck model accounts for 40 percent of Ford's F-series sales volume. The new version of the Super Duty has just started selling.
"We have a lot of arrows in our quiver," he said, adding that Ford's sales incentives were competitive.
Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally was scheduled to meet with dealers this weekend in Las Vegas, his first appearance at a national dealer convention since taking the top job at the automaker last year.
Separately, Hesterberg said he remained concerned that inventories could build back up for the U.S. automakers this year as they did last year, raising costs for dealers who are forced to finance the unsold vehicles.
"I absolutely have a concern about inventories and it's been an ongoing concern in our company for six to nine months," he said.
Hesterberg said that the U.S. automakers needed to break out of the cycle of sharp declines in monthly showroom sales that he said were cutting into the profitability of their dealers.
"They have to arrest the year over year significant decline in retail sales," he said. "You can always have a month when you're down 2 percent over last year, but when you're having consecutive months when you're down (by double digits) your distribution network is going to get weaker."
-- "Your best, last and only line of defense-a cohort of Roman Heavy Infantry"
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On Sat, 3 Feb 2007 11:49:30 -0500, "Jim Higgins"

I was given a CD from Ford a couple years ago and it compared the way the F-150/250 is built compared to the comparable models from GM and Toyota and Nissan and the difference was substantial in terms of the "strength" sorts of items that would make a difference to people who actually use these trucks for hauling stuff or who keep them awhile. Yet I never see any ads in magazines or on TV that present the strong case this CD made. The most the mass market ads do is just say things like "Ford Tough". Well, that's not very compelling compared to showing, for example, how the Nissan front end is basically got no frame under it at all, and how their frame rails are far smaller and not boxed and other items like that.
I'm afraid another part of the problem is that most people who buy F-150 type trucks, esp those who by the Nissans and Toyotas are really just people who would otherwise by a car and will never do anything truck-like with there truck except drive over a high curb at the drive thru by accident. So the underlying flimsiness of these imports may never be an issue.
Which brings up a whole additional issue, perhaps ford should start making a light duty throwaway like the Nissan's and Toyotas are and use the money they save to add to their bottom line. People who want real trucks would just buy an F-250.
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there is a foreign truck commercial, toyota I think. You see it during all the football games its got an ozzy song playing in the background and its driving through some sort of bumpy warehouse. I thought it was pretty funny that in their commercial as the truck is going over the bumps you can actually see the bumper seperating from the body.
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That is the Nissan Titan. Toyota ads are actually more offensive. I don't know which one is more misleading, the one where they make a big deal about the 4 door cab Tundra having a longer pick-up bow than the F150 Supercrew or the one where they show a Tundra pulling a relatively small boat up a very shallow ramp and they act like it is some sort of great achievement. Both commercials are deliberately misleading and border on false advertising. But then Toyota has never minded misleading people.
Ed
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That's true of most companies. As long as they get the sale and don't get caught. Look at how drug makers advertise.
Jeff

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Toyota doesnt reaaly even need to advertise. They build quality long lasting vehicles tested in the real world. Ford and GM make trucks only designed for the US market. Jap makers sell their vehicles all around the world to handle the toughest conditions. Can the expedition or explorer really be used off road? Even GM had to enter an Isuzu Trooper in the Race Across Australia. What GM vehicle could handle the utback?

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snipped-for-privacy@backpacker.com wrote:

I worked the auto show here last week and poked around the booths. The Toyota booths had mock ups of sub frames and frame sections proving the durability of there frames.
The ford booth put a supercab turbo diesel up on one of the spinning turntables. Big mistake. Truck was too heavy and it broke the turing platform so it would no longer turn. At the end of the show i was looking under the hood re connecting the two batteries. I have never seen so many coolers. Trannie, oil, intercooler, radiator, AC. Things were crammed so tightly under the hood i did no see any good way to easily service that engine. One of the ford guys said they had a problem with one once and it was easier to pull the whole cab off to do the repair.
The shelby mustang was a work of art.
Bob
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The Tundra is a US only vehicle. The Tacoma in the US is also a US only vehicle. The Sequoia is a US only vehicle. The current 4Runner is hardly a great off road vehicle. The Highlander and RAV4 are not any more intended for off road use than your typical car.
Have you ever seen what happens to a Toyota truck used by a farmer or a construction crew? It is not pretty.. They might be OK for your local suburban homeowner but they not "real" trucks. I think the correct term is Truckoid.
I assume GM is not going to enter something in the race across the Outback that they don't sell in Australia. Why would they.? Hardly anyone in the US has ever heard of that race. I goggle Race Across Australia, and got almost nothing except a lot of hits about a solar car race. Both GM and Ford have plenty of modified domestic vehicles in US off road races. I don't see where these vehicle prove anything. I doubt one across Australia would be very germane to the needs of a work truck.
Ed
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On the GM commercial you can see the bumper moving.

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Jim Higgins wrote:

http://money.cnn.com/2007/02/03/news/companies/ford_dealer_compalint.reut/index.htm?postversion 07020311

that new tundra makes me think of dodge dakotas
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