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Old 6th February 2015, 13:43   #16
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Thumbs up Re: Ford launches 'Vehicle Personalisation Center' in Chennai

I wholeheartedly welcome the Ford's initiative and hope other manufacturers take this lead and follow the suit. We will have more customisation options and also get products of high quality.

The only concern I have is the pricing point. Ford must competetively price the personalisation options to be more or less equivalent to the after market ones. If they competetively price it, they can open these centers within the city limits as the plant is very far from the city.

It will be interesting to see this initiative from the dealer's perspective where they try hard to push and sell the accessories at exorbitant prices.

Last edited by Grand Drive : 6th February 2015 at 13:48.
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Old 6th February 2015, 13:48   #17
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Default Re: Ford launches 'Vehicle Personalisation Center' in Chennai

Essentially this means that your vehicle will have to be built at the factory after you have placed the order and this means bigger waiting periods.

When my father was buying his Ritz, the dealer tried to discourage us from buying the VDi+ABS option giving the reason that there will be extra 3 weeks delay to get this version. Instead he wanted us to choose a car from the stock he already held. I am sure others would've faced similar situations. How will dealers react to this initiative?

The customisations offered currently by Ford are minor and these can be done at dealer level also. If a wider variety of customisations are offered, some of which cannot be done at dealer level, I can imagine the dealers choosing to hold less stock since they do not know what options customers will choose. This will affect delivery times for even those who do not need any customisations. It may be a problem as I think ours is a market where customers do not like big waiting periods.

If a customer finds some problems during PDI and does not want to take delivery of a customised car, I can also imagine the dealer saying, "Sir, this car is built for you. If you cancel now, you will have to pay $$$ rupees for cancellation at this stage".

So I think it will be interesting to see how these customisation options (and greater customisations if provided in future) will be received by the market.
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Old 6th February 2015, 13:59   #18
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Default Re: Ford launches 'Vehicle Personalisation Center' in Chennai

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
You don't have to, this isn't an accessory shop. You can order the customisations at the time of booking your EcoSport.
Seems like a good move, especially as specific customization option are available only for super luxury cars in India.

Couple of general queries\observations
Would this option be open for bookings which are already open with Ford, especially as there is an unrealistic waiting period?

Would the available customization option be limited to 2 with spare wheel getting moved out from back (as per rumors)?

Any idea on when we could expect the facelift? I have an open booking, in two minds on whether or not to collect the vehicle.
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Old 6th February 2015, 14:13   #19
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Last edited by GTO : 7th February 2015 at 12:20.
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Old 6th February 2015, 16:58   #20
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Default Re: Ford launches 'Vehicle Personalisation Center' in Chennai

Great initiative! And make sense that the option is currently only for the Ecosport, as that is the only volume model they have.

It will be nice if they extend this to the car interiors, wherein a customer can choose the upholstery, comfort features etc. A full-fledged online configurator should be a nice add-on so that the potential customer can pick and choose the options s/he want and pass it on to dealership while making the booking.
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Old 6th February 2015, 17:50   #21
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Default Re: Ford launches 'Vehicle Personalisation Center' in Chennai

Originally Posted by ramzsys View Post
what ford needs is brand visibility, marketing blitzkrieg and improved showroom response.

And the honchos there seem to do nothing about that.
You are absolutely right. My friend in Chennai was interested in the new Fiesta and had gone to one of the biggest dealers, MPL located in Teynampet, Central Chennai. I had accompanied him too.
Firstly, the showroom itself was a turn - off.
The showroom itself was quite small, and within that space, three cars were crammed in.
Showroom lights were partially on, (it was a Thursday evening at 6pm), and the lady at the sales counter had no clue as to the intricacies of the new Fiesta.
Apparently all sales execs were in the "field" and we were requested to wait for 15/20 mins which we did. In the meantime, we inspected a gray Fiesta which was inside the showroom. None of the electricals worked as the "battery was disconnected, s'aaar".
We were also told that since the showroom closed at 7:30pm and in case the sales gent did not turn up before that time, we would have to come/or TD done the next day!

After a good 45mins, a sales executive arrived. With a wistful, "i-want-to-go-home-asap-as-it-is-close-to-7pm" expression on his face, he mumbled inanely about the Fiesta and recommended that we buy the ECOSPORT , as it had the same diesel engine as the Fiesta plus the benefit of better ground clearance - turning a complete blind eye & deaf ear to my friend's pleadings that he adored the Fiesta !!!

We requested a test drive. Answer: no demo car. Ques:When can you arrange a TD? Ans: Not sure as the TD car is being repaired in the workshop. Ques: Can you fix the battery in the showroom display Fiesta so that we can TD that? Ans: "can tell you tomorrow, s'aaaar as Manager S'aar has to approve fixing the battery first"!!

By this time it was beyond the magical Cinderella hour of 7:30pm, and truly someone from the rear of the showroom started switching off the lights and A/C! I half expected Cinderella to pop out as well and start a "showroom closing" jig.

We were told that my friend will be contacted the next day and "arrangements will be made" to get a new Fiesta to him for him to TD and also show it to his family etc.

Obviously we exited pretty miffed and disappointed and drove off towards home - and then we realized; How would the showroom contact us ?? Because, no one, i repeat, no one, not even the lady at the reception nor the salesman had even taken any of our contact numbers!!!

Luckily, we had a brochure which had the showroom phone number and my friend immediately called - but alas - as i mentioned earlier, the Cinderella hour was enforced to its fullest and the poor phone fell off its hook, ringing.

Obviously, my friend never got a call from MPL. He later contacted another Ford dealer in Chennai, called Chennai Ford, where he got a much better reception. From what i spoke to him last, he has also booked the new Fiesta and expecting it by the 3rd week of Feb to be delivered.

It is really sad that how dealerships can ruin the reputation of a manufacturer and notch up sales losses.
And it is sadder that an OEM like Ford, is still not realising the positive sales impact of a slick, smart, knowledgeably staffed, and well entrenched distribution system, on their excellent products.
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