There’s value in brake pads

  11 November 2013

Plans by Ford Retail to offer all used car customers ‘brake pads for life’ struck a chord. My partner’s Fiesta, bought from Dagenham Motors, has just been in for service at a local Ford dealership and – yes – it needed new pads and discs.

Leaving aside for the moment the discussion about whether you can get away with changing just the pads (surely everybody tries an up sell at this point), I know only too well the financial distress that unexpected cost can bring. Ford Retail estimates the initiative (parts and labour) offers customers a potential saving of approximately £350 in five years and it’s fully transferable to new owners; so it’s not just a clever retention tool but potentially a conquest action, too.

Had the pledge been in place when we bought, we might well have gone to Heartlands rather than Allen Ford, which is more local. What’s also interesting is that the move comes at the same time as Ford itself is beefing up its aftersales offer to new, used and older-car customers.

For instance, all Ford services from participating retailers now come with free UK and European roadside assistance and recovery, including homestart and mis-fuelling. That’s a pretty powerful offer and allowed my partner to save around £80 on a lesser assistance package from a well-known national provider.

Quite frankly, it’s also a compelling reason for continuing to go back to the franchised network especially when there are other benefits (valet, courtesy car, parts guarantee) thrown in. What’s happening here is that Ford, and Ford Retail, is adding value not discounting.

There was some discussion at our Aftersales Seminar (link ‘Aftersales Seminar’ to:  ) in September about whether it’s a truth or a perception that the franchised sector is more expensive than the independents.

 If we accept (as the figures seem to prove) that we are more expensive, then trying to change the perception is a waste of time and energy. Selling on better value rather than cheaper price is likely to be the best way forward.

Rupert Saunders

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