We’re starting to see just how much of a restructuring Ford is doing beyond the Ford Blue, Ford Model E, and Ford Pro divisions announced earlier this month. Remember, Ford Blue will focus on ICE vehicles, grow the Icons family (Bronco, Explorer, F-150, Mustang, Ranger, Transit), provide an efficient, cost-effective development and manufacturing process for the entire company, enhance customer service, And create a brand experience for customers. The Ford Model E will focus on all things electric and digital, from creating new battery electric vehicles and powertrains, to developing connected platforms, products and programs for retail, commercial and shared transportation. Ford Pro for fleet vehicles, telematics and solutions.

The ambitious goal is to figure out how to combine the best of traditional OEM operations and a global dealer network with EV startup efficiencies and savings. Ford CEO Jim Farley said Tesla’s customer experience score only surpassed Ford for the first three years and then fell behind.He said car news“The lack of physical support for customers is a very serious problem for them. … Not everything can be done remotely. We can do things Tesla can’t.” But Tesla ‘s direct-to-consumer sales mean the electric car company saves $2,000 per vehicle compared to Ford, and Farley wanted to figure out how to close that gap.

Achieving the grand goals will start with how Ford develops its cars. Hau Thai-Tang, now chief industrial platform officer after the restructuring, said Ford will increasingly use small development teams with less oversight to use new methods to build cars. This approach delivered the first and second Ford GTs and then proved its worth in the mass market with the runaway Maverick pickup. The engineering teams at Mustang Mach-E and Bronco avoided building expensive prototypes, instead simulating foam cores and ideas in virtual reality that could be tried and discarded quickly and cheaply if they didn’t work. Further benefits of these methods are reduced development time and increased confidentiality.

Since OEMs are legally required to reach customers through their dealer network, the mothership makeover means Ford needs its dealers to embrace the changes. Executives are now talking with dealers about what the automaker is looking for, which will depend on whether dealers opt in. First, Farley said, “get ready to specialize.” Recognizing that some dealers might do a better job of ICE vehicles and commercial products than EVs, Ford wants dealers to be between Blue, Model E and Pro to make a selection. Those who don’t opt ​​for the Model E, which means committing to new operational standards such as not carrying EV inventory, and potential facility changes, will be able to sell the brand’s EVs by the end of 2023; from January 24 , these dealers will only receive ICE quota. “We want our dealerships to add real value and really be a knowledge hub for our customers,” said another Ford executive, who now plans to find the best structure for that. Frankly, this is another way of saying what a dealership has always been.

The company is talking to dealers about the best way to get everyone what they want or find the best compromise. Dealers welcome dialogue, but small-market dealers don’t want to cede more turf to larger-market dealers with more choice and throughput, and because dealers make expensive facility renovations when franchisors decide to change names, they all It’s understandable to be cautious.