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Ford Engages Dealers for Front Line Feedback During EV Transition



Ford Motor Company executive Elena Ford has been on the road talking to dealers, and they have been sharing feedback about the brand, including concerns about quality and affordability.

“Dealers are the backbone of helping us with quality,” Ford says. “If there’s an issue, they are there for customers. It’s really important that they give us insight.”

Ford, the chief dealer engagement officer at Ford Motor Company, came to the 2024 Automotive Forum New York fresh off her first stop on the Ford “engagement tour,” in Dearborn, Mich. Ford and other executives will also make stops in Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles through May.

“We want to hear from dealers about things that they have on their mind,” Ford says. “This is a way to listen to, and engage with, dealers in different markets.”

The tour was born from the Ford dealer council, who have been clear with Ford executives about dealers’ pain points, including floorplans and electrification. The manufacturer has made a goal of improving dealer sentiment, in part incentivized by the feedback they receive from the NADA Dealer Attitude Survey.

“We can’t move forward without dealers. We need them,” she says. “They are part of the fabric of their community. And we really need to make life more simple for them, which is part of our goal.”

Previously the chief customer experience officer, Elena Ford shares the retail network’s focus on the dealership experience.

“It’s great to have the customer come in and buy the car, but we really want to provide the experience after,” she says.

Ford is the only full-line automotive manufacturer that offers complimentary pickup and delivery mobile service. This is offered by 65 to 70% of Ford and Lincoln dealers through a fleet of 3,300 mobile service units. And, according to the Net Promoter Score, customers love it.

Through the digital revolution of the economy, customers’ needs are changing, and their expectations are higher, Ford says. She works with dealers to ensure that customers are met where they want to be.

“If they want to come into the dealership – awesome. If they want the dealer to come to their house – no problem,” Ford says. “It’s really giving them back time.”


Ford Motor Company also relies on their dealer network to see how customers are responding to EVs.

“We love our EVs. We’re excited about the EV business. We’ll be ready,” Ford says. “We really are in a transition. The most important thing is to offer people choices of what they want to drive.”

She says one of the manufacturer’s goals is on making EVs more affordable to help expand the reach of electrification. Simultaneously, infrastructure investment is critical not only to the EV transition but the modernization of the brand. Ford says dealer input on both is invaluable.