DETROIT -- Motorcraft, Ford Motor Co.'s parts brand, is rolling out a host of updated products and expanded service as part of a major redesign meant to boost dealer sales and cut their inventory costs by tens of thousands of dollars.
Executives spent the past year studying how to improve the profitability of their dealers' fixed operations departments. The result: a massive reduction in parts complexity, price cuts to a wide swath of items, and expanded coverage for older model-year vehicles. "There's a whole new attitude at Motorcraft, and we're looking at everything from top to bottom," Brett Wheatley, executive director of North America Ford customer service division, told Automotive News. "We've been around since 1972 and have made tweaks along the way, but reducing complexity hasn't really been in our vocabulary. That was a big, big change."
In one instance, Motorcraft cut 400 unnecessary shock parts, a 32 percent reduction that slashed the average dealer's inventory cost by about US$20,000. In another example, the brand cut the number of oxygen sensors it offers from 24 to one. "We're doing it across the board on all of our product lines," Wheatley said. "We've redesigned the product to have less overlap. Some parts have been a total redesign."