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News from the North American Auto Dealers Convention

Jaguar dealers stew as Ford PAG stumbles
But 6 good months would cut the gloom

Automotive News / February 03, 2003

In all respects, Mark Hennessy seems to have been the perfect dealer to serve as chairman of the Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover Transition Council.

After Ford Motor Co. combined its Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin brands into a single company, the Jaguar and Land Rover councils were disbanded.

Last year an interim council was formed, made up of eight to 10 dealers with a preponderance of Jaguar and Land Rover dealers, as Hennessy explains.

He says the role of the transition council has been just that - to help the company through the transition in merging the three British brands.

Hennessy of Atlanta has a wealth of experience in retailing luxury vehicles. He is dealer principal for his family's two Jaguar dealerships and three Land Rover stores, plus a Cadillac dealership. Hennessy Automobile Cos., which he co-owns with brothers Stephen and Peter, also has two Lexus dealerships and a Porsche store among its holdings.

Hennessy, like many of his peers, is a second-generation dealer. "My dad started here as the second Cadillac dealer in Atlanta in 1964," he said. "I joined him after graduating from the University of North Carolina." He officially became a dealer in 1983.

The transition council is being disbanded. Taking its place will be two separate product and marketing councils and two parts and service councils for Jaguar and for Land Rover dealers, Hennessy told Special Correspondent Karen Passino last month. Details on those councils are expected to be announced during the NADA convention.

What is the role of the Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover Transition Council compared with that of the old Jaguar dealer council?

It was an interim council made up of eight to 10 dealers that represented the Premier Automotive Group lines, with a preponderance of Jaguar and Land Rover dealers. They were trying to help the transition in the merging of the three brands within PAG.

Is the council still together?

It is being disbanded. They will have what I think will be called Business Advisory Councils. There will be product and marketing councils and parts and service councils for both Jaguar and Land Rover. So there will be four groups.

It is my impression that those councils will report to Richard Beattie, who is executive vice president of sales and marketing, and that Mike O'Driscoll, president of Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover North America, will have something like a president's advisory committee. I think that committee will take on more of the characteristics of the former transition committee in dealing with the intangible issues that aren't covered under the four councils.

How would you sum up the past year for Jaguar?

I think it has been kind of frustrating for Jaguar dealers and for the North American Jaguar team. For a short time, we had finally grown from a two-model franchise to a four-model franchise. And now due to the winding down of the XJ product and the aging of the XK product, we're back down to a two-model lineup, which is S-Type and X-Type.

Late in 2001 and early in 2002, we could see the real benefits of a four-model lineup. And then because of market tastes and actions beyond the factory's control, and the shifting of the convertible business to the Lexus SC 430 and the new Mercedes-Benz SL, we saw ourselves essentially go back down to a two-model lineup.

Was the U.S. economy part of the dealers' frustration?

I think, overall, not really. For the most part, for Jaguar and for ourselves, business from January to August 2002 was pretty strong and was very encouraging.

Atlanta often isn't affected by downturns, but this time it got hit. I think our business here maybe got hit a little harder than nationally.

So, for the first eight months, things were going great. Then in September, nationally, Jaguar hit kind of a lull. Business kind of came back in October, and then it slowed down in November and December.

Do you think that slowdown affected all of the luxury market?

Lexus business in a lot of markets is still extremely strong. Land Rover business actually stayed good. Not knowing Mercedes and BMW per se, I couldn't comment on them.

Product is king in the marketplace. The U.S. market, I always like to say, has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). You've got to have a new product to get the market's attention, and then that stays with you only about six months until it moves on to the next new product. So it's got to be a spectacular product to really have legs throughout a model cycle.

Do you think a splashy launch kind of tempers that?

Everybody, no matter what their size, can construe a launch as splashy. But because of their size, Mercedes, BMW and Lexus launches are going to be a lot splashier than Jaguar's and Land Rover's. They can afford to do things in a deeper, broader way.

How are you and other Jaguar dealers looking at 2003?

With both excitement and trepidation. The new XJ8 should be a terrific car. I'm excited about it.

And yet, having been exposed to a number of franchises over the last three to five years that have introduced new products that haven't necessarily radically moved the mark, but have been simply evolution of product style, the question comes up: Are we trying to conquest new owners, or are we trying simply to appeal to existing owners that liked the old style?

Will the new XJ8 sedan appeal to not only our existing owner base but actually conquest new owners? That's where the question comes up. But it is a spectacular car.

What are the factory people saying?

They are very bullish about it. I want to take this thing pragmatically. I'm not going to be to a naysayer.

I haven't forgotten the mediocre introduction of the 1995 LS 400. Personally, I don't think (Lexus) made a big enough change to shake the market.

Take the new BMW 7 series, for example. When current owners and prospects see one on the street, they recognize that there's a difference.

I think fashion is part of the luxury mystique. When you're spending $65,000 to $85,000 on a car, at least some part of the market likes to be noticed.

And the question is: Will this new XJ8 have that kind of allure from the street so that people will know that it is new?

When will the car go on sale?

Sometime in May. It will be introduced in Europe about March 1.

Does having an all-aluminum-bodied car concern dealers?

On the one hand, what it allows you to do performancewise is a great advantage. It's fantastic what it adds to the performance.

I don't know the pitfalls yet, not having had experience with it, when it comes to either maintenance or collision repair.

I think the jury is out as to whether this is the radical shift that needs to be made.

But I think initially, at the introduction, the idea of what it does to performance and mileage enhancement and that type of thing will help us. It's the luxury package with somewhat more of a green outlook, so to speak.

Dealers probably will have to make some kind of investment in the back shop.

I'm sure there will be some special tools, but not a whole lot.

As Audi has found with the A8, some particular processes are required in collision repair. Collision repair is where some Jaguar dealers are really going to have to make some investment to be able to work on the vehicles.

What is the hot product for Jaguar? What is the weak link?

The all-new 2002 S-Type that was introduced in the spring is a fabulous car. And it has been selling well. There were substantial changes both in the interior and in the drivetrain and suspension. The performance is fantastic.

So the S-Type has been great. But the problem is, to the untrained eye, or to that conquest customer, it's the same car that has been out there for 3˝ years. If it didn't appeal to you then, it won't appeal to you now, unless we can get you into the car for a test drive.

The X-Type, I think, is a great little car. The problem we've had is positioning it in the entry-level luxury market, which is about the most competitive thing around. Infiniti has come back strong; BMW and Lexus are strong. It's a pretty tough battlefield.

What are the top three issues for Jaguar dealers in 2003?

The top issue is our competitive position in the luxury segment. As business turns down, how do we compete - based on our volume and the marketing funds that go along with volume - against Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and even Cadillac?

Building quality and parts availability is probably the second most important issue.

Another issue is that during the last 24 months, there has been a great deal of fluidity in the Aston Martin-Jaguar-Land Rover management structure. Dealers want to know: When will there be continuity and stability in the management ranks?

Are incentives a worry?

Incentives are a concern, and yet I think we have to be pragmatic. Jaguar can afford to do only what Jaguar can afford to do.

How satisfied are dealers with the Jaguar franchise?

They are not as satisfied as they were three or four years ago. The satisfaction is based on business slowing down from what it was a year ago. Let's be honest - if things were going gangbusters, I think we'd all be excited about the franchise.

I think dealers' attitudes also are affected by the perceived confusion in the formation of Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover North America.

And then there are all the clouds surrounding Ford's financial straits.

So there is confusion and concern, I'd say. But in the same stroke, six months of great business would relieve a lot of that.

Mark Hennessy "These dealerships are in my hometown, Stacy.."

Age: 48
Dealer since: 1983
Dealerships: Hennessy Jaguar/Buckhead and Hennessy Jaguar/Gwinnett; Hennessy Cadillac; Hennessy Pontiac-Buick-GMC-Mazda; Land Rover Buckhead, Land Rover North Point and Land Rover Gwinnett; Lexus of Atlanta and Lexus of Gwinnett; Hennessy Honda; and Hennessy Porsche of North Atlanta - all in the greater Atlanta area
Average monthly sales: Not available
Quote: "The U.S. market * has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). You've got to have a new product to get the market's attention, and then that stays with you only about six months until it moves on to the next new product. So it's got to be a spectacular product to really have legs throughout a model cycle."
Top 3 issues
1. Keep Jaguar's competitive position in the luxury segment
2. Build product quality and parts availability
3. Get continuity and stability in the management ranks

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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Revolving door at HQ upsets Volvo council

But outlook is better with Doolan

Automotive News / February 03, 2003

The Volvo Dealer Alliance, which longs for a stable relationship with the factory, could not stop the game of musical chairs in the president's office at Volvo Cars of North America.

So it did the next best thing.

It created its own stability by extending the terms of its members by one year.

Jim Speck, who would have vacated the position of chairman of the dealer alliance in August 2003, will keep the job until 2004.

Speck, who became chairman in August 2001, said Volvo Cars has been in constant transition during his term because the company has had so many presidents - three in 17 months if you count current President Vic Doolan's first stop in the presidential suite in 2001 separately.

Doolan, who had headed Ford's Premier Automotive Group since 1999, switched jobs with former Volvo President Dan Werbin in June after Werbin had been on the job for nine months. In 2001, Doolan was president of Volvo and Premier Automotive Group simultaneously.

Making things worse for dealers is that the company lacked a sport-utility - a necessity to compete in today's market - and its brand advertising budget had been slashed.

On the bright side, Volvo dealers are profitable and they have a lot of confidence in Doolan, the XC90 sport-utility, and a promise that the ad budget will be beefed up, Speck said.

He was interviewed by Staff Reporter Arlena Sawyers.

How would you sum up the past year for Volvo?

One of great transition. Vic Doolan was president six and eight (since 1992). The lack of continuity, especially during the last two or three years, has created a situation in which we go in one direction and then another. But I'm still here. I've been in the position just over a year. Our terms have been extended by a year to run through August 2004.

What are the sales prospects for the industry in 2003?

The industry will be down, but not a lot. It will be extremely competitive. If you listen to the manufacturers, we're going to sell 30 million vehicles. So somebody is going to lose, but it still is going to be a good year. I estimate about 16 million.

How does 2003 look for Volvo?

I think it will be a good year. Vic Doolan is (lending) some consistency. We'll have consistency in advertising and marketing and getting supply and demand in balance. Our XC90 sport-utility is generating more traffic and excitement than any other Volvo in the past. I have 50 or 60 sold orders. December was the first month that we had significant volume.

What is the hot product? What is the weak link?

The hot product would be the XC90. Our S60 and V70 are doing well. The weak links are the S40 and S80.

What new products are on the way?

The XC90, or course. Also in the latter part of 2003, we'll have the S40 replacement, which is an all-new car. We anticipate that it will do very well. There is the S60R, which is a high-performance, all-wheel-drive version of the S60. The V70 wagon will have an R version, which is high performance. They'll be out in the next few months. They're limited vehicles - image cars.

How are Volvo purists perceiving the XC90?

It is attracting (loyal) Volvo buyers, but it is bringing in a whole new buyer as well. We're seeing people who own Lexus, BMW and Mercedes. We're getting the attention of the high-end buyers with our new sport-utility.

What is the role of your dealer council? Has it changed?

The council was re-established in 2001. We are an advisory board. We tell the factory what we need. Thanks in large part to Vic Doolan, they take seriously what we say. They listen to us, but it's still their decision.

What is the top priority of the dealer council in 2003?

To continue the progress made in the last five or six months, keeping some consistency in dealer/factory relations.

How would you rate the effectiveness of your dealer council?

We're an advisory group; we don't run Volvo Cars of North America. I'd say that in the last six months, we've won more battles than we've lost.

I think the best example would be the changing of the CSI and SSI surveys. There were 31 questions on the CSI survey and 33 questions on the SSI survey. People are surveyed to death. We suggested 10 questions, and they agreed.

For all practical purposes from the beginning of 1998 until the middle of 2001, the dealer council existed in structure but was not functional. Volvo was not receptive to our input. Now we have an excellent relationship with the factory. Vic Doolan gets a lot of the credit.

What is it about Vic Doolan?

Vic is not an easy man; he's a tough-minded individual. He has his beliefs about what needs to be done.

He has the confidence of the dealers because he knows what the hell he is doing. He understands the American market; he understands the dealers; he understands the sales process at the dealer level. You can sit down with him. I agree with him 90 percent of the time; on the other 10 percent I work hard to show him the error of his ways.

What has been your biggest disappointment as dealer council chairman?

Because we've had so many changes at the presidential level, we'll start and then stumble. We lost a year (2002). We're back on course now.

The president of any car company is responsible first to the company and to its stockholders, not the dealers. When a new president comes in, we're put aside.

What is the number one thing the factory can do to help dealers?

They must quit trying to micromanage our business. That's not unique to Volvo; it's an industry problem.

What are the dealers' top concerns?

The top concern is always dealer profitability.

How satisfied are dealers with Volvo?

The latest NADA dealer attitude survey shows Volvo made the best gains of all manufacturers. A lot more is based on perceptions than reality.

We believe we're going in the proper direction. The changes were made in 2002 and won't bear fruit until 2003.

We've reduced the prices of Volvo wagons for 2003. We've had more consistency in marketing programs. Starting in 2003, we'll see a larger brand-advertising budget, maybe around 50 percent.

In 2002, every time they had to cut expenses, it would come out of brand advertising - not necessarily the best thing to do, but the easiest.

Are dealers making money on new-car sales?

No, absolutely not. That's not unique to Volvo. The new-car department is not a profitable department. I have seven franchises; one has a profitable new-car department. European brands all have profitable parts and service departments. For Volvo, parts and service is the major strength; the used-car department makes a contribution as well.

Do your dealers have the right product mix and overall marketing strategy to be successful?

For 2003, yes; for 2002, no.

What percent of Volvo dealers were profitable for 2002?

Even though we complain a lot, Volvo is a profitable franchise. Ninety to 95 percent of our dealers are in the black. I'd say that was consistent for 2001 and 2002.

Volvo has put more emphasis on certified used vehicles. How does the program benefit dealers?

If you sell more used cars, you should make more money. Certification adds credibility. The perception of car dealers by the public generally is not good. Volvo, like all manufacturers, is starting to realize that if you don't have a good used-car program it will cost you money on the new-car side.

We sold about 400 certified Volvos in 2002.

Has Volvo compromised its image as the safety leader in its quest to put more emphasis on performance?

No, not at all. Performance, in some ways, enhances safety. Volvo has never compromised safety.

How is Volvo helping dealers in terms of shoring up Volvo's lagging residual values compared with other Europeans and the Japanese luxury brands?

Residuals are a factor when leasing. The major driving force for leasing is the payment. If we had a $30,000 car with a $400 payment and someone else has a (competing) $30,000 car with a $300 payment, that won't work.

Volvo does what it has to do to cut interest rates or buy residuals up. All manufacturers do it. Many European and Japanese brands have higher residual values but you don't know if they're real or subvented by the manufacturer. They all do it to try to reach a price point.

Is 2002's sales decline an aberration, or something Volvo must worry about, given that its market segment of $25,000 to $40,000 is becoming crowded?

It definitely is something we should worry about.

With the XC90 we're going to reverse that (sales decline). If you look at the near-luxury and luxury segments, their growth has not been in cars, it's been in sport-utilities, and we didn't have one.

We did a bad job on marketing and advertising.

The two things together resulted in the decline. I believe they've been fixed.

Should Volvo dealerships be stand-alones or paired with Jaguar and Land Rover stores?

I am an exclusive dealer. Having said that, if there is one thing that Volvo has done right in the last seven years, it is to go to fewer but bigger, exclusive dealerships. With today's programs - incentives and advertising - it's almost impossible to manage three or four brands. I'm a proponent of exclusive stores.

I never believed that Ford's Premier Automotive Group philosophy would work. Lincoln didn't belong. Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin - they could work. They're all British, and there is no overlap. Jaguar is cars; Land Rover is sport-utilities; and Aston Martin is exotic cars.

Volvo is safety and family value and has nothing in common with those brands and should remain separate. Putting them together would be confusion.

If I had all those franchises in one market, I would not put them all together.

Jim Speck

Age: 59
Dealer since: 1977
Dealerships: Volvo of Orange County, Santa Ana, Calif.; Circle Volkswagen, Circle Audi and Circle Porsche, Long Beach, Calif.; Torrance Mitsubishi, Torrance, Calif.; and County Wide Chrysler-Jeep, Garden Grove Calif.
Average monthly sales: 360 new, 125 used
Quote: "The president of any car company is responsible first to the company and to its stockholders, not the dealers. When a new president comes in, we're put aside."
Top 3 issues
1. Maintain profitability
2. Restore brand advertising budget
3. Build a stable relationship with the factory

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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News from the North American Dealer Assoc.

Ford dealers put quality, product at top of wish list
2002 was rough, but outlook is better

Automotive News / February 03, 2003

Ford Division dealers want updated, well-built products.

Product glitches and a paucity of new vehicles have undermined the brand's owner loyalty and market share, said Michael Kennedy, chairman of the Ford Division National Dealer Council and president of Kennedy Automotive Group Inc. in Feasterville, Pa.

Ford Motor Co. is struggling to overcome a $5.45 billion loss in 2001 and generate $7 billion in annual pre-tax profit by 2005. Dealers are aware of the automaker's troubles but want to avoid repetition of the current new-product shortfall, Kennedy said.

The relationship between Ford Division and its dealers - rocky in recent years as the automaker neglected its core North American brand - remains unsettled.

In November, the company announced plans to cut back the payments made to Blue Oval certified dealerships. After dealer outcry, Ford said cash payments will continue to go to dealers through March 2005. Ninety-five percent of Ford Division's nearly 4,000 dealers are certified and have received an average $293 per new vehicle sold.

Kennedy was interviewed by Staff Reporter Mary Connelly.

What is the sales outlook for Ford Division?

We're pretty optimistic. Ford seems to be strong as far as the incentives are concerned. The company hasn't backed off on incentive spending or advertising. From a marketing point of view, we are optimistic.

Our concern lies in product. We have great truck product. But if there is a weak point at all, it is in our car product. We have new car product coming, but it's a wait. The Freestyle. The Five Hundred. The Mustang.

On the truck side, Explorer sales have never been better. F-series sales still are great. We really don't have any complaints, other than wanting the Ranger freshened up.

What is the mood of the consumer? What does that say about 2003?

I hate to jinx this, but I think we are turning the corner economically. Our business is all about consumer confidence. Looking into 2003, I think we could come out of our slump. Ford dealers have had a tough year.

What will change for Ford in 2003?

Market share is creeping up a little bit. Quality is a lot better than it has been in a long time. The number of recalls is down dramatically. We are building a lot better car than we were two years ago. That, teamed with aggressive marketing dollars and good advertising, makes me optimistic.

What is the weak link in your product lineup?

On Focus, we are doing better. Taurus is our biggest opportunity. It is a helluva car. The (Toyota) Camry and the (Honda) Accord are just having our lunch.

What are you going to do about it?

Incentive spending on those vehicles is going to be high. That will even out the playing field. Ford has been building the Taurus for quite a few years. The cost to produce that model is not as high as newer models, so there is room for spending on that car line. Ford has been aggressive with that car and will continue to be aggressive with it. That is a key vehicle. It is a great car and for a lot less money than Camry and Accord. Taurus doesn't have quality problems. It is a good car.

And Ford will keep the pedal to the metal on the Focus.

We are working with (Ford Division President) Steve Lyons and Jim O'Connor (Ford Motor group vice president for North America marketing, sales and service). They are all about selling. That is the good news.

Is new product what you need?

We get the new truck in June, the new F-150. It is absolutely awesome.

As dealers, we kind of lick our chops at what we can sell. You can tell by looking at it that we are going to do real well. It is stronger looking, beefier looking. I just know it will be well-received. That is a bright spot for us. The new diesel engine is a fabulous combination.

There are two new cars coming, the Freestyle and the Five Hundred. And the Mustang really looks neat.

Are there holes in the lineup?

If there is anyplace we need some help, it is probably above the Focus, where the old Contour used to be, a mid-priced vehicle. The other thing we have asked for - but I don't think it will happen - is an entry-level vehicle.

Aren't you bringing in the Ford Fusion, a small, front-drive sport wagon, in mid-2004?

I'll believe it when I see it.

Ford has the Ford Mondeo and the Mazda6 architecture available for a mid-level vehicle.

With the financial situation Ford is in right now, the company is watching its costs just on the product it is already committed to. Ford has to get its financial house in order before it commits to any other product.

What is the role of the dealer council at Ford Division?

The dealer council members represent all the regions. They bring to the council all the concerns the regions have. We bring them to Dearborn (Mich.), and we hash out those issues with the company. The role of the council is trying to get the dealers' voice heard in Dearborn.

How often do you meet?

Three times a year as a full council.

We also meet in committees. We have a product committee, a marketing and finance committee, a parts and service committee, a fleet committee and an information technology committee. The committees meet multiple times throughout the year. People in Ford Division are assigned to each of the committees.

We also meet continually on the Internet and on conference calls.

What kind of things are they tapping your brain for?

They talk to us on a whole gamut of things: marketing issues, incentives. They need a sounding board. and a lot of times the dealer council is their sounding board. They will ask: "How do you think this would go over? Would dealers like this? What would you rather have, dealer cash on a particular product or a customer rebate on a particular product?"

What is the top priority of the dealer council in 2003?

Vehicle quality. We are continually asking the company to do better and better on quality and to prove it to us.

How does a quality problem affect a dealer on a daily basis?

Our shops used to be really crowded with warranty work. I can tell you with confidence that that is down considerably. They are building them better because we are not having to fix them.

The way it affects the dealer is, if I sell you a product, and it is not a good product, are you ever going to buy another one from me? No. It goes directly to owner loyalty and from there to market share.

Ford's quality problems have been ongoing. Have you seen owner loyalty going down?

Yes. If you look at a chart of owner loyalty, it has been going the wrong way. It is not just quality; it is also product. I think we have turned the corner, and I think it will go the other way now.

How do you get those people back? How do you regain customer trust?

As a dealer you always have an opportunity with a customer because you know who he or she is. We can continue to market to customers. From Ford's standpoint, the way to get it back is to build a quality product and stand behind the product and make the incentives so darned good that people have to take another look at you. Some of our incentives are over the top.

But a lot of incentives are over the top in this market.

I know. But look at the Explorer, for example. With the Firestone recall, the Explorer went through the biggest horror that a product could experience. But August was one of the biggest (sales) months ever. It's a good product. With the right kind of marketing, you can do it.

One thing Ford has that some manufacturers don't have is the Ford dealer advertising groups around the country. They are one of Ford's strongest assets. All of the dealers are pooling their money and advertising together so it increases Ford's share of voice in the marketplace.

What are the top three issues for Ford dealers?

In addition to quality, the Blue Oval (dealership certification) program.

Another issue is an increase in the warranty parts markup.

Just as important as quality is the product lineup. That is one of our top priorities, pressuring the company to give us the vehicles where we need them and give them to us faster.

The dealer council is saying to Ford: "Why did we get in the position we are in right now? It was because the previous management did not have its eye on the ball with product." So we are in the hole right now. We are talking to them about what we think the future should look like.

In the second half of the decade?

Now and in the future.

Ford has dropped a plan to cut back Blue Oval cash payments. Ford now will pay Blue Oval cash to certified dealers through March 2005. Are dealers satisfied with that?


Did that set back the bridge-building between Ford and the dealers?

On one hand, it could have. But on the other hand, it was clear the company listened and responded. The dealers cried out, and they were heard. In the past, dealers have protested and not been heard.

How satisfied are dealers with Ford Division?

I would say dealers have been upset about Blue Oval. They are not happy with what has happened to our business this year. Our share has gone down the last couple years. The satisfaction level is not real strong.

That being said, I don't see a lot of Ford dealers running to sell their dealerships. Most of us have been around long enough to know you go through rocky periods. We're here for the long haul. If I wanted to sell tomorrow, I know I could get a good price. And I know if there were a Ford dealership available tomorrow, I would want to buy it.

How are you working with Steve Lyons, the new president of Ford Division?

Steve is a good guy to work with. He is a straightforward person.

Wall Street has been skeptical about Ford Motor Co.'s turnaround strategy. What do dealers think about it?

Dealers look at it a different way. We are thinking about the future and the product. We hope that cost cutting does not get in the way of future product. I am a stockholder, but stockholders worry about the price tomorrow. Ford dealers worry more about the franchise and the product we have going forward. We know a healthy manufacturer is the one that will deliver good product to us.

Michael Kennedy

Age: 48
Dealer since: 1972
Dealerships: John Kennedy Ford, Feasterville, Pa.; John Kennedy Ford, Conshohocken, Pa.; John Kennedy Ford, Phoenixville, Pa.; John Kennedy Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, Pottstown, Pa.; John Kennedy Chevrolet, Southampton, Pa. Average monthly sales: 500 new, 208 used
Quote: "If you look at a chart of owner loyalty, it has been going the wrong way."
Top 3 issues
1. Improve vehicle quality
2. Get sufficient product
3. Rework Blue Oval program

My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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Report: Mazda North American chief to step down Stacy94PGT Mazda Forum 1 03-02-03 08:12 AM
Ford to reduce number of North American vehicle platforms Stacy94PGT Ford Worldwide News 0 02-26-03 08:33 AM
XC90 honored at 2003 North American International Auto Show RPO83 Ford Worldwide News 0 01-06-03 06:48 AM

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