Shouts of “Give us choice!” may have been resounding in the halls of FordDirect’s Dearborn offices. FordDirect listened and responded as they received call after call from franchise dealers demanding that they be given more than one website platform option in the FordDirect digital program.
In January 2018, FordDirect announced a new digital program that gave Ford dealers a choice of four website providers: Dealer.com, CDK Global, DealerOn, and Jazel. Previously, dealers only had one choice: a FordDirect website powered by Dealer.com.
This research report is a frank discussion on the current business model implemented at Ford to manage the digital marketing investments of their franchisees. This model is not unlike other programs used for U.S. manufacturer digital programs operated by Shift Digital and Internet Brands.
According to Mike Jurecki, the FordDirect organization reviewed proposals from many website companies. They created a detailed Service Level Agreement (SLA) which was designed to weed out companies that could not deliver outstanding customer support. In the end, Mike presented the internal committees, staffed with dealers and industry advisors, a list of seven website companies to choose from; four were selected.
The choice of website providers confounded many in our industry. It seemed to be in conflict with the vision of FordDirect which is to provide Ford dealers with a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Was it politics as usual? Why the large cost increase? Will the new program give Ford dealers true relief? I will let readers decide.