Ford India: Our aim is to offer cars that have low cost of ownership

May 03 2014, 16:26 IST
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Ford India says the company is taking steps to ensure its cars have a low cost of ownership. Ford India says the company is taking steps to ensure its cars have a low cost of ownership.
Summary'For a price-sensitive buyer, a car or a technology that can offer value and reduce the cost of ownership always finds resonance.'

Roadside Assistance (RSA) programme?

The RSA is connecting well with the customers. Every new Ford car comes with two years of free RSA, with nationwide coverage. The offering is also available as a retail package across our dealerships and is priced at a nominal R1,000 a year.

What was the idea behind the Quick Lane service initiative?

Consumers today have little time to spend at a dealership. Through Quick Lane services, we introduced features such as ‘No Appointment Necessary’ and ‘While you Wait’ service, providing a convenient option for routine car maintenance and minor repairs. Quick Lane considerably reduces the waiting period during service requirements. Extended operating hours on workdays and Saturdays provide a faster turnaround time, increasing customer satisfaction.

A Ford dealer once told me about the replaceable door skin on the Figo. What is it and what led you to introduce this?

The ‘Sub Assembly Levels for Repairs’ strategy enables big savings in the overall ownership costs by breaking up an assembly into sub-components. Whenever a car part needs to be replaced, the strategy enables replacing only the malfunctioning ‘parts at sub assembly levels’, as opposed to replacing the complete assembly.

Replaceable door skin that you mention is a fine example of this technique. It is a design where a replaceable skin is put on the door frame. As a result, in the event of a dent or any other form of minor damage to the door, the skin could be replaced instead of the entire closure assembly, thus making the repair a less costly affair.

The strategy is being followed in other parts of Ford cars too. For instance, if the connecting rod or piston rings get damaged, they can be replaced separately, while earlier the entire short block assembly (piston, rings, pins, connecting rod) needed replacement. Similar is the case with the alternator and the exterior mirror assembly. Earlier, if an alternator failed, the customer would have to purchase a full alternator, but now a specific component within an alternator can be replaced.

Are auto solutions companies such as Carnation taking away after-market customers from auto manufacturers?

Be it small workshops or multi-brand ones, the real concern is customer satisfaction. Most independent workshops lack transparency in their service packages and may work out to be more expensive. Ford India and many other OEMs provide a high quality service experience to their consumers without any hidden costs. For example, while a Ford dealership would charge a

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