Ford Approved revitalised in South Africa, renews focus on quality, service excellence
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has consolidated and revitalised its used car sales division under the Ford Approved banner, with the focus on providing exceptional service and quality.
Ford Approved is geared to fulfil the needs of customers throughout their ownership experience from purchasing an approved pre-owned vehicle at a Ford dealer to ultimately trading it in on a newer replacement vehicle further down the line.
“The used car market accounts for approximately two-thirds of all vehicles sold in South Africa, making it an exceptionally important retail segment for customers and dealers alike,” says Eben Swart, Ford Approved manager at FMCSA.
“The currently strained economic climate and pressure on personal disposable incomes will undoubtedly contribute to more buyers considering a pre-owned vehicle, and downsizing to save money,” Swart explains. “Accordingly, it’s the perfect time to realign our strategy with a more focused approach to better serve our pre-owned vehicle customers throughout their ownership journey, both for their current needs and when it comes to trading that vehicle in for a newer model later on.”
“By consolidating the pre-owned vehicle business under the Ford Approved brand, we have created a ‘one-stop shop’ to meet the customer’s requirements, from buying a quality approved used vehicle to selecting a tailor-made financing package to suit the client’s budget, such as Ford Options from Ford Credit for qualifying demo vehicles, and the various extended warranty and service plans that are available,” he adds.
With Ford Approved, which currently includes more than 90 dealers, customers benefit from the peace of mind that the pre-owned vehicle experience is fully backed by Ford Motor Company. Although the primary focus is on Ford models, pre-owned vehicles from a variety of other brands are also sold through Ford Approved.
Ford Approved vehicles are a maximum of five years old with a 120 000km mileage limit. Each vehicle undergoes a stringent and comprehensive 160-point check, including mileage and service history verification. They are sold with 12 months free roadside assistance and the balance of the manufacturer’s warranty, and service plan or maintenance contract, where applicable, thereby giving the owner confidence in the quality of vehicles sold. The customer can also purchase extensions to the warranty, service plan or maintenance plan.
“Ford Approved gives customers the reassurance of increased resale values when they come to trade the vehicle in at a Ford dealer, which is an important consideration in the total cost of ownership,” Swart says. “This provides a hassle-free way of handling the customer’s used car and facilitating the purchase of a newer model, which reinforces our drive to ensure that we create satisfied and happy customers that remain loyal to the brand.”
In conjunction with the revitalisation of the Ford Approved brand as a whole, the Ford Approved website has also been revamped and provides a dedicated platform to view a wide selection of pre-owned vehicles available at accredited Ford dealers around the country.
The website enables dealers to list their pre-owned and demo models, with detailed information provided on each vehicle. This includes the model, year, mileage, colour and options fitted, and is supported by a comprehensive portfolio of exterior and interior photographs. A financing calculator is included for each listing, allowing prospective buyers to instantly work out their monthly repayments, total interest and the total payment over the selected financing period.
A search function assists visitors to easily narrow their selection from over 3 000 vehicles currently listed on the site by body type, make, model, year, engine, gearbox, mileage, price and dealer. To facilitate a fully inclusive user experience, the Ford Approved site incorporates a useful trade-in page, where owners can enter the details of their current vehicle and submit this information to their preferred Ford Approved dealer. The customer will then receive a call from the dealer to discuss the trade-in and purchase of a replacement vehicle.
“Our renewed focus on Ford Approved will help further strengthen Ford’s position among South Africa’s best-selling pre-owned vehicles, particularly with the Ranger, Fiesta and EcoSport,” Swart states.
The Ford Ranger was ranked as the top-selling used vehicle on Autotrader South Africa between July and December 2019, with a 16.1 percent share. The Fiesta was eighth overall for the same period with a share of 7.2 percent, with the EcoSport remaining another Ford favourite by rounding out the top 10 on 4.7 percent.
The Ranger also dominated the pre-owned vehicle sales in the double cab segment for 2019 according to Autotrader, claiming the four top spots, and six out of the overall top 10 places. The Ranger 2.2 XL 4x2 Manual was the best-selling derivative, followed by the 3.2 XLT 4x4 Auto and 3.2 Wildtrak 4x4 Auto.
“The success of the Ranger in the used vehicle market confirms its continued popularity since the current generation model was introduced in 2011,” says Swart. “It reaffirms the exceptional value for money, capability and reliability that the locally produced Ranger offers, as well as the confidence that pre-owned customers have in our products. Through Ford Approved, we are confident of gaining an even greater share of the used vehicle market by giving our customers a wider range of choice in vehicles, services and finance options, and an enhanced end-to-end ownership experience. It will also enhance the quality of products and services from our dealers, helping them to be even more customer-centric while contributing to their sustainability in an increasingly competitive environment,” Swart concludes.