As the number of cars is increasing on our roads, so is their service requirement. Today, a car that can offer value and reduce the cost of ownership finds resonance with consumers. PK Umashankar, vice-president, Customer Service Operations, Ford India—in an interaction with Vikram Chaudhary of The Financial Express—says that buyers today appreciate assured quality and transparency in the ownership and servicing processes. He also takes us through the steps Ford India is taking so as to ensure its cars have a low cost of ownership. Excerpts:
How has the car ownership experience changed in India over the last few years?
In today’s age of technology, a potential car buyer generally does a thorough research on the web before short-listing a set of cars that he should consider. The information-gathering process includes checking the commentary on social media websites, analysing expert drive reviews, and reading testimonials on the ownership experience. By the time a buyer gets to the showroom, he is already well-informed. We also see an increased demand for assured quality and transparency in the ownership and servicing processes.
What steps are you taking so as to ensure that customers enjoy low cost of ownership?
Our commitment is to offer products that have a low cost of ownership. We ensure our cars have reduced service intervals, enhanced durability and reliability, and superior fuel efficiency.
Are Indian customers ready for high-technology and low-maintenance cars such as the Ford EcoSport EcoBoost?
For a price-sensitive buyer, a car or a technology that can offer value and reduce the cost of ownership always finds resonance. We introduced the EcoBoost gasoline engine in India with the EcoSport. This engine has a patented turbo direct injection system that helps improve fuel economy by up to 20% and reduce emissions by up to 15%. The EcoBoost reiterates Ford’s commitment to promote innovation.
Do all your outlets, be they in small or big cities, offer the same ownership experience?
Our aim has been to provide global standards across all our dealerships. Enhancing the ownership experience is a continuous process. Be it a small town or a metro city, all our outlets offer the same ownership experience. For instance, our Happy Pocket Service, priced at Rs 2,199, enhances the cost of ownership experience of our customers. It comprises of oil change, oil filter, sump plug gasket, labour charges, body wash, and a 50-point check, without any hidden charges.
How has been the response to the Ford Service