Ford Ambitious to Become Largest Tyre Marketer in USA
American trends, schemes that have proved successful on the other side of the big pond, will spill over to Europe after a short delay. That has always been so. So watch out for the letters FCSD and remember that they stand for Ford Customer Service Division.
The car giant has just started a strong advertising campaign in North America, introducing to the public “America’s Newest Tire Store”, a network of 2,400 of the current 5,000 Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers. According to a Ford spokesman, this is the latest step in providing customers with everything they really need, and all at one stop. The Ford and Lincoln dealers, he claimed, have suitable business premises, sufficient relevant expertise and the scope to offer competitive prices – with the express advance warning that Ford has no intention to be cheap but will market tyres “at a fair price”.
Tyre manufacturers build tyres to Ford specifications, the spokesman explained, and it would therefore only be a natural progression for the company to market “original replacement parts”. Thus only original equipment suppliers will be able to take part in the Ford replacement business. To give the project a kick-start the company currently runs a lavish and expensive TV campaign (costs are not disclosed), later to be supported and partly replaced by radio advertising and direct mailing.
Carl Bergmann, Customer Service Operations Manager, can see no point in sending customers away in future when they want to buy tyres. And these are certainly not empty words: In July 1998 the Ford organisation sold a mere 700 tyres, the figure for this July was 97,000, and that is only a start. The sales target for the current year is one million tyres, three million in the year 2000, to be doubled again to six million units in 2001, at least according to a Ford Motor Co.
spokesman talking to the press. These are large numbers indeed, but not unrealistically so, because if each of the currently participating 2,400 dealers only sells one set of tyres per day, the three-million barrier will be breached..