Ford expects record dealer profits
San Francisco — Ford Motor Co. expects a record number of vehicles launched last year will lead to continued strong dealer profitability in 2015.
While the Dearborn automaker doesn’t disclose dealer profitability numbers, John Felice, Ford’s vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service, said Saturday Ford expects a fourth-straight year of record dealer profits, and expects similar results this year as volume of new vehicles such as the F-150 and Mustang ramp up.
“We’re having really solid results and growth is a major theme for 2015, it could be even better for our dealers,” Felice said.
Ford executives on Saturday met with dealers as part of the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco.
The automaker is coming off a year in which it launched a record 24 new vehicles globally, including 16 in North America.
“A lot of those products were not physically launched in the market until the end of the year,” said Stephen Odell, Ford’s executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service. “Now the volume starts to come through as we’re ramping up.”
Those new vehicles include the 2015 F-150 pickup truck. Felice said Saturday Ford has sold about 5,000 since launching late last year. It has about 11,000 in stock and the trucks are selling in five days after reaching dealer showrooms.
Ford expects to reach full F-150 production by the middle of this year.
“It’s off to a fantastic start,” Felice said.
Vernon Krause, a Ford dealer in Georgia, said his showroom has already sold about 15 of the new F-150s and can barely keep them in stock.
“I think everybody believes 15’s going to be a very good year,” he said.
Felice said Ford is happy with the size of its dealer network, which includes 3,200 Ford and Lincoln dealerships in the U.S.
“We’ve partnered with our dealers over the last 10 years to right-size our network,” he said. “It’s in essence done; the network is stable.”
Dan Parks, a dealer at Huntsville Ford in North Carolina, said Ford stressed growth in the hour-long dealer meeting.
“The message was we’re going to have the product to do it,” he said. “Now it’s time to build (the new vehicles) and let’s go.”