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Upcoming Letter to Dealers on Customer Relations


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For what it's worth, I was just informed that Ford will be sending their dealers a fairly lengthy letter on customer relations, and how the poor treatment of customers will have a long term negative impact. Apparently enough persons have complained to Ford about the Shelby pricing, etc. that they feel some reaction is needed from them. I really don't have any details about timing and specific content. Personally, I am hesitant to say this might have any impact on pricing, but maybe it will cause dealers to stop and reflect how the actions of some are tainting all of them. For my part, all I ask from a dealer is to be direct and honest with me. If the price they want is more than I want to pay, all they have to do is tell me and I will try another dealer and/or another type of car. Luckily, I found a smaller dealer north of Kansas City who I feel is treating me well (white with blue stripes ordered).

 

I would appreciate it if someone with a dealership would post the letter when it comes out. I would be most interested in how it is put together.

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For what it's worth, I was just informed that Ford will be sending their dealers a fairly lengthy letter on customer relations, and how the poor treatment of customers will have a long term negative impact. Apparently enough persons have complained to Ford about the Shelby pricing, etc. that they feel some reaction is needed from them. I really don't have any details about timing and specific content. Personally, I am hesitant to say this might have any impact on pricing, but maybe it will cause dealers to stop and reflect how the actions of some are tainting all of them. For my part, all I ask from a dealer is to be direct and honest with me. If the price they want is more than I want to pay, all they have to do is tell me and I will try another dealer and/or another type of car. Luckily, I found a smaller dealer north of Kansas City who I feel is treating me well (white with blue stripes ordered).

 

I would appreciate it if someone with a dealership would post the letter when it comes out. I would be most interested in how it is put together.

 

If this is true...they are looking "WAY FORWARD" & are willing to do what ever it takes to keep loyal customers like you & me in the Ford family.

:cheerleader: Way to go FFFFooorrrddd, Way to Go! :cheerleader:

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Informed by who? Where does this information originate from?

 

 

Hi awatters

 

I would just as soon not get real specific as to who told me (in case he was not supposed to say anything), but the originator of the statement is within the district sales staff of Ford, and I believe the person who was told this. I am sure that some of the dealership posters such as Five Oh or Chris at Bill Woods (if he is still on the forums) will be able to eventually confirm this. Again, I really don't know the specific timing or content of this letter. But when you think about it, it kinda makes sense for Ford to try to defend their stance, which was that this car was supposed to be priced within the reach of the normal person, otherwise why make such a big deal out of publicizing their efforts to keep it 40K or less? I think it was Ford's intent for this to be a car that dealer's could make some easy money on, but even they were probably caught off guard by the interest and apparent wealth (and willingness to spend it) of the baby boomers who are bidding the price of the Shelby so high. Sometimes even I am amazed (and I tend to be pretty jaded) when I see how much my generation is willing to pay for the older musclecars, some of which I considered to be really crappy cars when they originally came out (here I go dating myself again :hysterical: ) Hope this helps to reassure that this is not just some self invented rumor.

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For what it's worth, I was just informed that Ford will be sending their dealers a fairly lengthy letter on customer relations, and how the poor treatment of customers will have a long term negative impact. Apparently enough persons have complained to Ford about the Shelby pricing, etc. that they feel some reaction is needed from them. I really don't have any details about timing and specific content. Personally, I am hesitant to say this might have any impact on pricing, but maybe it will cause dealers to stop and reflect how the actions of some are tainting all of them. For my part, all I ask from a dealer is to be direct and honest with me. If the price they want is more than I want to pay, all they have to do is tell me and I will try another dealer and/or another type of car. Luckily, I found a smaller dealer north of Kansas City who I feel is treating me well (white with blue stripes ordered).

 

I would appreciate it if someone with a dealership would post the letter when it comes out. I would be most interested in how it is put together.

 

 

Extremely smart and important! Cultivate the Ford following. Lose 10, 20, Life time customers???? to make an extra one time 10 Grand. Math don't add up. Their vehicles, wives, school kids, college etc. etc. FORD IT'S NOT A BRAND, IT'S A WAY OF LIFE! LIVE IT , FEEL IT, FORD! mnm, maybe we have something here? Wildhorses.

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it is a nice sentiment, but will make no difference whatsoever.

 

 

It might not change anything right away, but this is the best news Ive heard from Ford on the Shelby to date. At least there are some folks higher-up at Ford willing to speak out against the dealers- especially the types that took good faith deposits a year or so in advance then reniged on the deal once they found out what they could get- that was just wrong. Hopefully the ones that dont heed the advice will eventually get penalized for jacking customers around...the smart dealers were the ones that refused to take deposits at all until the facts were in.

 

To me personally though, I dont know why I feel this way, but in my opinion: if a dealer agrees to sell product, they should be obliged to accept orders at the MSRP- theres a nice profit already built in for them to compensate for shuffling a few papers. First come, first served, no allocation by region BS, etc...'stock' they order for the lot is theirs, but I personally feel they should be obligated to take care of customer orders first. I might be kinda weird though about buying cars- I dont like to haggle as thats not right either- the car is worth the sticker or its not, and if you find one on sale, great...after the BS on Mustang GT's last year, I know of a few that will never get a penny of my money- 5~7 over for a base gt- and had to 'reconfigure' stock orders, yet had outstanding orders that 'would never get built'...too many outright screwed people over by jacking around priority numbers, everyone seemed to know it was going on and acceptable...not saying all dealers behaved like this, but I'm pretty certain all knew it was occurring in various areas. I know of two good dealers in my area now, and one of them has what appears to be a good service department- I might be luckier than many.

 

Ive read all the 'free market' stuff and understand it- but my problem with that is if anyone EARNED the extra profit it would be theguys and gals and company that designed and built it- not somebody that 'sold' a product that already sold itself. I wish Ford would just come out and say 'we're gonna build as many as necessary' and everyone would be happy- but guarantee there would still be a handful of 'barret-jackson starry eyed' dealers demanding more.

I really think for the extra 15k attached to the mustang gt price, the mods required would easily justify additional tooling to fulfill all orders. thats 15k on top of the cost of a hightech 3v/5speed/blah/blah/blah drivetrain in there already- I really doubt actual Ford unit cost more than a couple grand over the other when produced in quantity. I would think this would be the kinda thing they would jump all over...I do forsee possible warranty issues though- this is an extremely powerful car, I for one would be kinda suprised if the 'standard' warranty period for the shelby is not shortened up...didnt some of the old BOSS cars come with like 90 days or something???thought I recalled reading that somewhere once...

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I spoke with the owner of a dealership in Ok he is getting one. He has it held with a deposit and he told his the customer a while back he would sell it at MSRP. When I talked with him he put my name on the list just in case, due to the fact Now it is going to be over MSRP. That he was going to call his one customer and tell him that the price has changed and it now will be over MSRP by 20K to 25K. He also told me that the other Dealers in the area told him that he had to sell the car over MSRP by 20K to 25K, due to the fact if he didn't they would not do any more dealer trades for cars he needs in the future. So the big dealers are trying to play Godfather or what. Lets put the squeeeeeeze on the little guy. :devil2: This is :censored:

 

I am willing to pay a little over MSRP but not this much (5000) tops I hope the the owner will scar off the first customer and put me in the drivers seat.

 

This is turning in to a nightmare If the dealers would come out and play fair.

 

Mark

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I spoke with the owner of a dealership ... He also told me that the other Dealers in the area told him that he had to sell the car over MSRP by 20K to 25K, due to the fact if he didn't they would not do any more dealer trades for cars he needs in the future.

 

If he did this, he has implicated himself in Price Fixing.

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What I would like to see is ford offer to sell the gt 500 directly. Fire up the website so you could order the car right on line. I will fly to where ever the car is built. Can you imagine. They couldnt make them fast enough. Too bad they dont create a firm list of people who have the money in hand or thru finiacing to order car and then work the production run off of that list. and cut out all the dealers who have put ADM's on the car that are astronomical.

 

If ford keeps this up it's going to take them much longer to get out of the whole they dug. 8000 lost customers certainly wont seek a ship, but if they create holes faster then they can fix them....

 

I hope the purported letter really strikes a loud note. :rant:

 

GM

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What I would like to see is ford offer to sell the gt 500 directly. Fire up the website so you could order the car right on line. I will fly to where ever the car is built. Can you imagine. They couldnt make them fast enough. Too bad they dont create a firm list of people who have the money in hand or thru finiacing to order car and then work the production run off of that list. and cut out all the dealers who have put ADM's on the car that are astronomical.

 

If ford keeps this up it's going to take them much longer to get out of the whole they dug. 8000 lost customers certainly wont seek a ship, but if they create holes faster then they can fix them....

 

I hope the purported letter really strikes a loud note. :rant:

 

GM

 

I just sent Ford a 2 page :rant: letter (email) addressing selling cars direct to us by the internet, outragious dealer mark-ups, Ebay auctions above MSRP & how us loyal Ford owners are being treated by dealers. The automated system says I will here back within 3 days. I also gave them my home & cell phone numbers to personally contact me (if they dare to), so we'll just have to wait & see what they come back with. I will publish their reply once I get one, verbal or written.

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Any word from anyone on this letter to dealers????

 

Or a response from Ford, coldwater???

 

the email I got from Ford customer service was computer generated & is at home on my computer their. I will post that one later tonight. After that, I got some Managers, Presidents, V.P.'s email addresses from a few members on this board trying to help (thanks Guys) & have sent them all a letter to see what I get back. I'll post that also later tonight.

 

Till then hang tight.

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OK here is the letter I sent out & at the bottom is their email reply.

 

Dear Ford Motor Company, (actual persons names withheld, yes more than one email went out)

 

I have been a Loyal Ford customer for over 25+ years, and I work for a Tier 1 parts supplier as an engineer. I make parts for your Ford Five-Hundred, Mercury Montego & Ford freestyle vehicles and have stood behind Ford products for many, many years. I am so loyal that I have promoted your vehicles to family, friends & business associates and have had very good luck in getting them switched over to Ford only products over the years.

 

Ever since I saw the unveiling of the Shelby Mustang GT 500 in New York, I have been on several dealers waiting list so I could purchase my dream car. When this car was unveiled at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, it was said that it was going to be an affordable car for the average person to afford. This no longer seems to be the case now that the time is growing near for you to release the Job 1 date, production numbers & final pricing for the Shelby GT 500. I don’t know if you have been paying attention to what has been going on with your dealers, but there has been a disturbing trend growing each day & time I talk to a Ford dealer no matter where I inquire about this car.

 

Most dealers are refusing to sell the car at M.S.R.P. “Manufactures Suggested Retail Price” or accept my Partner Recognition supplier “X-Plan” discount. Dealers are telling me and 1000’s of others, they will sell it to the highest bidder on eBay or if I like, they are willing to sell it to me or anyone else for an additional 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25+K above the M.S.R.P. (what ever that might be). Some are telling me the deposit is Non-refundable & the ADM prices they are charging is so they can recoup certification cost & special tools required to work on the car.

 

To me this is UNPROFESSIONAL, UNETHICIAL & UNACCEPTABLE dealer behavior! This is NOT “Way Forward” thinking or protection for your loyal customers; this is Pure dealer GREED. No good can come from this sales tactic, not to mention their could be lot of bad & negative press for Ford Motor Company when the media finds out how customers are being mistreated by your dealers when you are trying to turn the company image & product line around.

 

I understand that Ford, Lincoln & Mercury dealerships are privately owned franchises, but this is not a good representation of Ford by your dealers. I see this as being a major setback and it will cost you thousands of loyal brand customers you already have because dealers are price gouging them or trying to turn it into a silent auction to the highest bidder.

 

Once again, I am longtime Ford Loyalist and I Do Not like being treated like crap from your dealers unless I have deep pockets and I’m willing to pay above M.S.R.P. when it comes to buying a Shelby GT 500. This dealer price gouging will affect everyone & anyone who tries to get financing through their local banks or Ford Motor Credit. Do you realize that most lending institutions will only loan money for the M.S.R.P. price or less for any new car?

 

Here are a few suggestions before the cars are released to the dealers for delivery.

 

1.Ford needs address & send out letters to all Regional Managers, Regional Representatives, dealers and press saying, selling above M.S.R.P. is unacceptable & we at FoMoCo will not tolerate it. If dealers are found to be over charging customers for a product at your dealership or via Internet auction you (the dealers) will be hit with some type of penalties, fines or loss of participation for any & all-future programs with FoMoCo.

 

2.Ford takes the lead in modern day innovation & using the “Way Forward” thinking by allowing customers to select, order & purchase their vehicles direct from Ford, Lincoln or Mercury using a direct order website so customers can have their vehicles shipped to a dealer of their choosing. The Dealership will still get their normal profits as if they sold it at their place of business & nobody gets charged extra ADM’s or a bad image for price gouging. Extended warrantees can also be purchased along with any accessories online. Dealers can & will be able to view the orders online (after being notified) so they can get the parts & accessories so they can coordinate it with the service & body shop departments for installation when the car or truck is scheduled to arrive. If rebates are available they will also be available to the Internet buyers at the time of ordering or at the point of purchase when the car is delivered.

 

3.Ford needs to rewrite the Dealer Franchise agreement to limit what dealerships can charge a customer & what charges they are allowed to recoup for training & certification.

 

In closing, I do not want a STANDARD reply answer letter from a MS-Word template that has already been generated addressing similar issues (which I already got & is attached below). I want real answers as to why you are allowing this to happen to your loyal customer base? Not all of us can afford a Ford GT at $151,000+ that has already been proven to sell well above the M.S.R.P. price for those who have plenty of money to burn.

 

Please don’t force me & thousands of others to do this, but I feel I do not have a choice if you do not step in & do something about this with your dealers, most are out of control & greedy, which in turn makes Ford look like it doesn’t care one bit about its loyal customers in an already tight automotive market.

(See website link for example) http://www.bassbunch.com/news.php

 

If I cannot buy a 2007 Shelby GT 500 for what you the manufacture deems the listed Suggested Retail Price should be, then I will take my entire families, friends & business associates future car & truck buying business to other manufactures over this over charging stunt by your dealers.

 

I look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

 

COLDWATERHOTROD

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Email reply from Customer Relationship Center

 

Dear COLDWATERHOTROD,

 

Thank you for contacting the Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center.

 

Ford Motor Company is concerned with the satisfaction of all Ford and Lincoln Mercury owners. We regret the circumstances that have prompted you to contact us. Excellent dealer service helps us maintain our customers' goodwill. When that service is not satisfactory, we appreciate being advised so the information may be forwarded to the appropriate department. Feedback helps us keep dealer sales performance at the highest possible level. However, Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships are independently owned and operated and as such, we are unable to intervene directly in sales issues. If you have not already done so, we would recommend you provide feedback to the Management Team at the dealership, we believe they would also appreciate knowing the details of your dissatisfaction.

 

We consider the satisfaction of our customer’s one of our most important objectives. If you have any other inquiries or concerns, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to address them for you.

 

Sincerely,

Anthony

Customer Relationship Center

Ford Motor Company

 

HELLO? DID ANYONE READ THIS at FORD?

 

MY PROBLEM IS WITH THE MANAGEMENT TEAM!

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Great letter.

 

Brutal response.

 

I'm with you. If they can't get their act together and provide my dream car at the reasonable price AND treat me like a customer, I don't have to be a customer anymore. My wife's van was going to become a Freestyle this year....there are other options out there.

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2.Ford takes the lead in modern day innovation & using the “Way Forward” thinking by allowing customers to select, order & purchase their vehicles direct from Ford, Lincoln or Mercury using a direct order website so customers can have their vehicles shipped to a dealer of their choosing. The Dealership will still get their normal profits as if they sold it at their place of business & nobody gets charged extra ADM’s or a bad image for price gouging. Extended warrantees can also be purchased along with any accessories online. Dealers can & will be able to view the orders online (after being notified) so they can get the parts & accessories so they can coordinate it with the service & body shop departments for installation when the car or truck is scheduled to arrive. If rebates are available they will also be available to the Internet buyers at the time of ordering or at the point of purchase when the car is delivered.

 

 

 

Now THAT sounds like a great idea. :)

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Thanks for posting the NON-RESPONSE from Ford, coldwaterhotrod!

 

Seems like a very typical canned answer to any complaint.

 

I think it is time to start an email letter campaign. Perhaps if ALL of the members on this forum sent letters to the same people at Ford, they would realize that this is an issue of more than one "disgruntled" customer.

 

I also think that copying the email letters to all of the dealers in your particular area may also generate some customer relations concern.

 

Also, as someone suggested, it is time to get this message out to the local media in your particular area. No name calling, just point out that the dealers in your area, by name, are price gouging loyal customers. I am not sure of the legality issues here, but an expression of personal discontent and warning to others of the dealers practices should be OK?

 

Dealers feel that us, the consumer, are setting the price by the fact that a few hundred fools are willing to pay $15K markups, according to EBAY action. I think we should show dealers that we consumers are ultimately in control of the dealers image.

 

I have spoken with about 30 dealers, from AZ and VA, and BudFord from TX. If these dealers are to be believed, they each have already sold ALL of this years allocation at $5K-20K markups, AND each has 10 to 100 people on their waiting list.

 

Something doesn't smell right. I think the EBAY auctions are fraudulant and being orchastrated by the dealers them selves to generate a perception that "everyone" is paying high ADM's. I also think that dealers will continue to tell anyone who contacts them that they have large lists in an effort to get you to say,"But, I have to have one! And I can mortgage the house to give you $20K more than the MSRP! Let's bump one of the others off of your list!"

 

Rant over.

 

Coldwater, what email addresses at Ford did you send your letter to? I want to follow up with one of my own.

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"Your call is important to us, please continue to hold. Our next caring agent in Bangladesh will be with you after learning English and assisting customers in line ahead of you. In the meantime we will bombard you with a Kenny G song in an endless tape loop without telling you whether it will be minutes, hours, days or weeks until someone is able to provide you an inadequate answer, or give you a phone number to call that you have already called six times and gotten no satisfaction. We strive for your satisfaction because we are customer-focused. Please feel free to shout into your receiver or hammer it against the wall in the vain hope we will answer sooner. Take advantage of our telephone repair service now by pressing #33. This message will not repeat."

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OK, I guess this is were I say something to get everyone mad at me, but I have to say something.

 

We live in a free-market economy. Pricing for all goods & services theoretically is driven by supply & demand and other macro-events in the market. Some goods sell for way below their real values, and some goods sell for way above their real values, but it is still vital to our economy that pricing be dictated by the market and not artificial minimums or caps imposed by government or manufacturers.

 

That said, if you were to add up how much we sell all of our new Fords for versus MSRP during a year's time you would find that we gave up a few million $'s - yes millions - to price our cars at a market price. I am not talking about rebates - just our own discounts below MSRP. When was the last time you bought a generic new car and paid over MSRP? Taurus, Focus, Explorer, F-series, whatever. There are too many available, too many dealers competing for your business, supply > demand, so the average transaction price is below MSRP. Often a couple grand below MSRP. Factor in rebates and it is often $5K - $10K below MSRP on bigger ticket items, sometimes more!

 

Now you have a car (GT500) that is in huge demand. Supply < demand. It is only natural for the market to be tight for this car in this situation and drive the market price up until such a time that supply catches up with demand. Happens every time something new and cool comes to market. It helps to stabilize the demand and bring it down to the level of supply by pricing just enough people out of the market so that those who can pay the price can still get what they want.

 

If you want the manufacturer to step in and force dealers to sell GT500's at MSRP, then you better damn well tell them to force dealers to sell everything at MSRP, too. We would make millions more per yer that way. You'd be a hypocrite to tell me that it's OK to whittle us down way below MSRP on all the slow sellers, but then say it isn't OK for us to get over MSRP on a hot seller.

 

My final thought on this. If you don't want to pay over MSRP for any product - including the GT500 - then wait until after all the must-have-buyers-with-too-much-money get theirs. Eventually, pricing will settle down on this car when supply catches demand and you'll be able to get a GT500 for MSRP or less. Could be late in 2007, could be in 2008. There's always the chance that demand will outstrip supply for the entire run, too. But, my point is, time = money. So if you want a lower price you're gonna have to wait longer, search farther, or both.

 

Off my soap box now.

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Yowch, I feel like I'm in a deja vu loop. Now all we need is for half the board to be pissed off at the other half. In the words of that great American orator, Rodney King, "Can we get along here? Can we all get along?"

 

Reality is what it is. We all understand what it is. Now let's live with it.

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Five Oh B, no problem, I am not mad at you for stating your position as you understand it.

 

I understand that if supply<demand then consumers can expect to pay more for a product.

 

But should consumers allow dealers to make that profit? The dealer has done NOTHING to add value to the product.

 

Now, if Ford finally came out with an MSRP of $50K, since Ford is manufacturing the product and is the source of the GT500's added value, and dealers were required to sell at MSRP, then the manufacturer would profit. The dealer would also profit, since a percentage of the MSRP is already profit to the dealer.

 

Why do dealers sell at less than MSRP? Simple, really, they need to convince consumers that they should buy particular vehicles, unfortunately the ones the manufacturer is producing lots of. Not the vehicle that the consumer necessarily wanted.

 

Anyway, I am waiting and I will continue to search further, even though I feel that I should be able to contact any dealer and order this vehicle at MSRP. Today.

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Five Oh is just saying you can't have it both ways. You can't just take the 'market price' when it's to your favor, then complain when it benefits the seller. If you buy a GT500 at MSRP from a dealer, then sell it to someone else on the dealer's list for $10K is that fair? The argument about dealer ADM pricing would say it's fair for you to do that, but not fair for the dealer to do it.

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I agree with what Five Oh said with the exception that dealers calling around and talking to each other about what to sell the car for sounds an awful lot like price fixing. Technically, that's illegal, although the oil/gas companies seem to get away with it just fine.

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In the end the dealer has to decide if the short term profit out weighs the long term ill will. When you sell someone a car at a price that makes them happy, they come back and bring friends. Try to sell to them at a price that does not make them happy and you get the opposite. I got a deal for MSRP. I am a walking, talking, 24 hour a day, advertisement for this dealer for the rest of my life. I tried about 10 other dealers and got the 10k-20k over msrp story from them and now for the rest of my life, I am a walking, talking, 24 hour a day, advertisement not to buy anything from them. I had to decide if the car was worth the 10K-20K price they set and they need to decide what advertising is worth. That is free enterprise.

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