Ford to roll out agency model as it overhauls EV customer journey

Ford to roll out agency model as it overhauls EV customer journey

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Ford has confirmed to its retailers of its plans to roll out an agency model across Europe as it overhauls its customer journey to focus on electric vehicles (EV).

The Blue Oval brand outlined its new EV sales strategy at its Bring On Tomorrow Live event in Copenhagen, Denmark to its retail partners from across Europe “who will be fundamental to delivering next-generation customer experiences”.

It said agency would “ensure that customers get a consistent price whether they shop online or at the store of their choice”.

A spokesperson for Ford told AM: “We have already launched the agency model earlier this year in the Netherlands and are gaining a lot of valuable insights for our future roll out to other markets.

“Our approach to the agency model is not limited to our electric vehicles but our entire portfolio. 

“We will share our future roll-out plans at a later point and therefore are currently not able to confirm a future roll-out or timing for the UK or other markets outside of the Netherlands.”

Online showrooms, virtual test drives, fixed prices and a personalised digital customer journey will all be part of the new way Ford wants to approach sales.

Ford is planning to launch 10 new electric models in Europe by 2024, including the new E-Tourneo Courier multi-activity vehicle, which was also unveiled in Copenhagen.

The company is underpinning its new EV sales strategy with an omnichannel focus.

This means customers will be able to complete their entire purchase from Ford’s official online channels and showrooms, visiting dealerships and Ford Stores for information and updates from experts, or a combination of them all.

Ford chief executive Jim Farley had already alluded to forthcoming changes to the way it approaches sales and said that future dealer standards will be “brutal” to ensure that the brand has the physical network to outperform its car manufacturing competitors.

Martin Sander, general manager, Ford Model e, Europe, said: “We’re well on the way to becoming an electric passenger car brand by 2030, with a uniquely comprehensive line-up of vehicles already introduced and inspired by an understanding that EV customers see the world differently.

“Our vision is to make it easier and more appealing than ever for customers to discover, buy and own the right EV for them, whether switching to electric for the first time or already an experienced owner.”

Ford said it wants to make it easier for customers to make “big decisions with transparent pricing and no surprises” when it comes to EVs.

Customers will be able to personalise their vehicle handover, access charging and arrange pick-up and delivery for servicing on their smartphone.

Ford said that by making it easier for greater numbers of customers to go electric, Ford’s new customer experience will support the company’s commitments to achieving carbon neutrality for its European operations, logistics and direct suppliers by 2035.

Changing customer expectations

Ford launched its new electric Explorer with virtual test drives, but customers will also be able to book real-world test drives online with vehicles delivered to them at a time to suit with a minimum charge of 100 miles.

Ford is also introducing online visibility of their vehicle order status and the ability to book delivery slots.

Customers will also be able to indicate ahead of time digitally to let Ford retailers know the specifics they want to learn more about when their vehicle is handed over.

Ford believes this will make it easier for drivers to take to the road with maximum confidence whether they are experienced EV owners or new converts.

Aftersales support for EVs will include at-home charging solutions, pick-up and delivery for servicing that can be scheduled online, with fast track servicing options.

Sander added: “Ford’s commitment is to treat customers like family.

“That means understanding what they need from us to help them live their best lives and then pulling out all the stops to make it happen.

“Our network of retail partners across Europe is key to transforming the Ford buying and owning experience – building on the relationships and reputations formed over decades and backed by a new generation of digital tools and forward thinking.”

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