Ford Motor Group: Do you have the drive to succeed?

Are you looking for an opportunity to become a franchisee with a global super brand? Ford is seeking new Retail Dealers at locations throughout the UK

With an internationally established brand, Ford vehicles are visible on roads throughout the UK. Ford employs 14,200 people at 10 locations across Britain, as well as supporting a network of 550 car sales and over 625 service locations, and is now looking for interested franchisees with the talent and enthusiasm to expand this network further.

Ford offers many benefits to its franchisee Retail Dealers. These include minimum vehicle stocking requirements, access to main dealer and national stocks, reduced administration, full signage showing status as a member of the Ford Dealer network, training and the support of an experienced and professional Ford Main Dealer.

The company is looking for new Retail Dealers across the UK to complement the existing network. Potential franchisees may already have facilities, or alternatively be ready to buy into an existing business, or acquire or construct suitable premises. Potential franchisees could either come from within the car industry, or be interested in joining the business, but talent and business expertise are a must. Said Nigel Sharp, Director-Sales, Ford Britain:

'Retail Dealers typify what Ford is about - good local access to quality products and professional vehicle servicing. To support our growth aspirations we now need additional talented operators to join us and take advantage of opportunities in areas of growing population and local regeneration, working closely with our Main Dealer network.'

Becoming an Authorised Repairer in August 2005 and taking on the new car sales franchise a year later G Kingsbury & Son is one of the more recent entrants to the Ford Retail Dealer network. Caroline Teager, Managing Director of Kingsbury, considered several other manufacturers before choosing Ford. Caroline said what appealed about Ford was its strong product range and position as one of the market leaders, but a major deciding factor was Ford's approach. 'With Ford you feel like you're dealing with nice, friendly, ordinary people,' Caroline explains.

With an initial financial commitment of approximately £20,000 Kingsbury found taking on the sales franchise relatively easy, as Caroline recalls: 'The support from Ford was fantastic. They were very helpful, really listened to our concerns and helped us through all the franchise standards.'

Although Kingsbury have been a Ford Retail Dealer for a short time it has found business already profitable and is hoping that it will improve.

With plans to take on the Ford Commercial Vehicle service franchise and looking to expand their used car sales business the company is happy with the ongoing support it has received from Ford. 'They don't interfere, they leave you to run your own business, but they're always at the end of the phone if you need them,' reveals Caroline.

Fishers, a family business owned by brothers Tony, Peter, Michael and Paul Fisher, became a Ford Retail Dealer for the Wigston area in 1985 and since then, their turnover has been increasing each year. 'Treat people as individuals and give them consistent good service,' advises Tony. 'If you look after your staff and customers, the rest will look after itself.'

Even though business has been going well Tony still feels that it can improve. 'We're expecting a lot more from the Ford franchise,' he explains. 'We're good for 750 vehicles sales from here!'

Prices of Thame, previously a Volkswagen dealer became a Ford Retail Dealer in 1996. Its owner, Pierre Taylor, relocated the dealership to a new purpose-built outlet in August 2006 and renamed it Thame Ford. Currently establishing itself in the local community Pierre is pleased with the initial results as the company expects turnover to increase from around £2.5 million per annum in the old premises to in excess of £4 million per annum in the new.

In fact, Thame Ford recognises the benefit the brand name Ford provides. 'Given the choice of any franchise in my town I would choose Ford,' Pierre explains. Pierre has many plans to help his business grow in the long-term, which includes Ford's drive to recruit new Retail Dealers. 'We'd like to take on another Ford Retail Dealer in the future,' Pierre reveals.

Ford has been reporting great successes over the last couple of years. In March this year the company returned its best March since twice yearly number plate changes were introduced in 1999. Also in that month over 81,600 '07'-plated Ford cars and commercial vehicles were collected from dealerships, which normally accounts for up to a fifth of total annual vehicle registrations. Additionally Ford's share of the total vehicle market year-to-March was almost 17 per cent, half a per cent increase on the same time the year before.

'Our March performance is a tribute not only to the strength and consumer appeal of today's Ford products, but also to the hard work and commitment of our dealer network,' explains Roelant de Waard, Ford of Britain Chairman and Managing Director.

For those with a passion for the motor industry Ford's drive to expand its Retail Dealerships has presented a unique opportunity for joining this internationally recognised brand.

Reported by Derin Ibrahim