Dealer ~ main or not - L'escargot
There are frequent references in The Backroom to "main" dealers, but what constitutes a "main" dealer?

The Ford dealer I go to is a family owned affair with only 3 workship technicians but it is still emblazoned with Ford logos. How would you categorize this size of dealership?
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L\'escargot.
Dealer ~ main or not - Mike-H
Main dealer is simply an official Ford franchised dealer, regardless of it's size. A few years ago there were main dealers, and retail dealers, where the retail dealer was a satelite of the main dealer.
Dealer ~ main or not - Mike-H
pS for Ford, please read any manufacturer, sorry!!
Dealer ~ main or not - Roly93
I suppose if you can find a franchised dealer as small as the Ford one that was mentioned, it may not be too bad.
My local franchised Audi dealer has an army of 'hangers-on' who all have to be paid, so they squeeze you for every penny they can !
Dealer ~ main or not - stuartl
Main dealers are absolute crap.

I have experienced their 'service' first hand and sucessfully sued one for over three grand!!
Dealer ~ main or not - Bromptonaut
Most franchised garages these days seem to be part of larger groups and focussed solely on the corporate bottom line. Pleasing the individual customer is OK as long as it's done within company policy but loss of the custom of Mr Jones has little impact.

Locally we have two Citroen franchises. One was formerly a family business but sold out to one of the bigger groups. For a while it continued to trade under the old name, linked to the marque across the county, but eventually rebranded under a national corporate name. Old service staff who knew their customers moved on to be replaced by "agents" with no technical knowledge and limited people skilla. Premises moved from a dedicated workshop near the town centre to a glass palace, mainly dedicated to sales on the edge of town. I'm afraid they've lost my custom.

Other is still a family business, holds a sales franchise for renault and is a franchised service centre. The service manager greets me by name, knows the technical stuff and if needs be I can talk to the technician as well.

Which one is a main dealer?
Dealer ~ main or not - Altea Ego
The problem is that all of the manufacturers want greater control over outlets. So the importers (and most car makers have companies that control or own the importers) have not renewed the franchise holders or have bought the franchises.

So nearly all your main dealers are owned by the importers. Those that are not are large multinational companies.

The outcome of this is that you are less likely to see tesco's running large multi franchise car outlets. That thought terrified the makers.
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Dealer ~ main or not - L'escargot
So nearly all your main dealers are owned by the importers.
Those that are not are large multinational companies.


None I've used, going back as far as 1965, have come into either of those categories.
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L\'escargot.
Dealer ~ main or not - Altea Ego
Snail

In 1965 they were not, In 2005 they nearly all are. You may not know it, but that is the case with very few exceptions
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Dealer ~ main or not - L'escargot
You may not know it, but that is the case with
very few exceptions


Well, we'll just have to agree to differ on that point.
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L\'escargot.
Dealer ~ main or not - Altea Ego
Name the main delaer thats not then?


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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Dealer ~ main or not - L'escargot
Name the main delaer thats not then?


B.Eyre & Son Ltd., 1 High Street, Tattershall, Lincoln LN4 4LE for a start.
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L\'escargot.
Dealer ~ main or not - Altea Ego
Right thats 1 then

Here is a crisp crinkly 5 pound note that says they will not be independent in 5 years time.
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Dealer ~ main or not - L'escargot
Here is a crisp crinkly 5 pound note that says they
will not be independent in 5 years time.


Where's your evidence to back up that statement?

Anyway, now you've gone and used the description "independent". I thought that "independent" dealers were not franchised.
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L\'escargot.
Dealer ~ main or not - L'escargot
So nearly all your main dealers are owned by the importers.
Those that are not are large multinational companies.


Search by postcode for Ford dealers on www.ford.co.uk/ and you'll find countless that are neither owned by an importer nor are large multinational companies.
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L\'escargot.
Dealer ~ main or not - Altea Ego
Mr Snail sir

My postcode

1 4.92 miles Dagenham Motors - Cobham
2 8.62 miles Inchcape Ford - Guildford
3 11.07 miles Dagenham Motors - Thames Ditton
4 11.33 miles Dagenham Motors - Leatherhead
5 11.82 miles Dagenham Motors - Staines
6 12.8 miles Dagenham Motors - Epsom
7 15.97 miles Dagenham Motors - Banstead
8 17 miles SMC Ford - Uxbridge
9 17.15 miles Dagenham Motors - Hounslow
10 18.19 miles Dees of Wimbledon
11 18.23 miles Thames Valley Ford - Slough
12 18.95 miles Martin (Eton) Ltd - Windsor
13 19.17 miles Inchcape - Bracknell
14 19.69 miles SMC Ford - Slough
15 21.03 miles Dees of Croydon
16 21.28 miles Lifestyle Ford - Redhill
17 22.21 miles Inchcape - Wokingham
18 22.6 miles Brownes of London
19 22.68 miles Inchcape Ford - Farnborough
20 23.43 miles Macleod Garage Ltd - Cranleigh

So thats 3 out of 20 that are not Ford or multinational owned. That means that 15% of Ford dealers are trully independent. My 5 pounds says that your nice family owned ford garage in the swamplands will not be there in 5 years time because ford will have taken away the franchise.
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Dealer ~ main or not - L'escargot
That means that 15% of Ford dealers are
trully independent.


No, that merely means that your statistics are flawed. 23 miles radius of your particular postcode is hardly representative of the whole country. Anyway, which of your list is multinational? In other words, which of them has sites in other countries?
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L\'escargot.
Dealer ~ main or not - Altea Ego
www.inchcape.com/ international motor retail group
Dagenham motors is one of the trading names of Ford retail Ltd.

Pop in your postcode and lets see how your area stacks up
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TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Dealer ~ main or not - rjr
So nearly all your main dealers are owned by the importers.


I'm not sure where you get that from. There are some manufacturers/importers that own elements of their networks but it is a small percentage. Probably the largest manufacturer owned network is DaimlerChrysler which owns less than a third of the Mercedes-Benz network. Ford own less than 50 of their 714 franchises.
The outcome of this is that you are less likely to
see tesco's running large multi franchise car outlets. That thought terrified
the makers.


The threat from companies like Tesco is overstated. The returns on car sales and service is too small for Tesco to consider entering the market. Car makers are more concerned about the Banks buying dealerships and taking control of the finance on car sales.
Dealer ~ main or not - L'escargot
Main dealers are absolute crap.


I can only assume you've never done business with any of the numerous franchised dealers I've used in the last 40 years!
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L\'escargot.
Dealer ~ main or not - cheddar
Not been following this one however there are two types of dealer, retained (owned by the manufacturer) and franchised, in my area there are good examples of both. I have had good service from Brunel Ford (retained) in Bristol, likewise Brunel's parts dept in their Weston-Super-Mare branch are very helpful. Additionally Winford Ford (nr Bristol Airport|) are a franchise that have been in business as a Ford dealer at least 30 years and also offer a very good service.

Other than retained and franchised dealers there are of course independent specialists however they hold no obligation to the manufacturer or on behalf of the manufacturer to the customer.
Dealer ~ main or not - Andrew-T
"Main dealers are absolute crap"

This is rather a harsh generalisation, but I am sure quality of service is roughly in inverse proportion to size. Wife's used Clio came from the Rochdale dealer, which is (was 4 years ago, anyway) still a small friendly place. But it's 40 miles away and not the most convenient for us. T'other day, Wife took car to our nearest supplier, (which is much bigger) to get an exhaust mount. Which one, they asked, drawing diagram (could be either of two in the middle). Not sure, she said, Husband knows (I had looked under car at its MoT). So she phones me to ask, and I tell them. Why not have a look to make sure, I said. Can't do that, sir, you'll have to book it in to put it up on the ramp. But the car is outside for you to have a look under, I said ....

To no avail. To add insult, the part is non-stock, so one has to buy it in advance, then go back again to collect, and if it's wrong, repeat the whole pantomime. And they wonder why they get a bad name.
Dealer ~ main or not - L'escargot
Main dealer is simply an official Ford franchised dealer, regardless of
it's size. A few years ago there were main dealers, and
retail dealers, where the retail dealer was a satelite of the
main dealer.


So really they should be called franchised dealers?
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L\'escargot.
Dealer ~ main or not - daveyjp
Up to press I've had good service from my local dealer. It's when things go wrong you find out their true colours. My car was in last week for a warranty job, a new air quality sensor for the aircon. As usual car was valeted as part of the job, despite it being virtually spotless after it was cleaned by them the week before. After picking it up I went to a meeting and on coming back noticed scratches on the bonnet - it looked like sandpaper had been used to get the dead flies off! Similar problem on wing mirror housings.

Took car back the next morning. Initially they denied it and showed me a 'car inspection report' which identified scratches on the bonnet, there were some stone chips there which I admitted to, but not as bad as it was returned. I explained the problem, outlined the facts of the situation and put them in a position where everything was stacking up against them. I wasn't present when the inspection was carried out (it could have been completed after the scratches were done for all I know), I asked to see the paperwork from the visit the week before and no inspection form was completed, so a break in their policy etc etc. I put my point across, made them aware of how often I used them and that I would be looking at replacing my car next year, then remained silent. After 30 seconds or so the car was booked in for the damage to be sorted. Car is now back and looks like new, they even sorted the stone chips. Cost to them about for the work about £100 - potential loss to them in the sale of new cars and ongoing serivce and maintenance - £000s.
Dealer ~ main or not - DP
I've only had one really bad experience with a main dealer and that was a local Peugeot franchise.

Trying to get an intermittent erratic idling and stalling problem sorted out on my 306 took seven visits. The fault was not bringing up the engine management light, or logging codes in the ECU and they quite honestly didn't have a clue what to do with it. Each time it went in they plugged it into the rig, and each time it told them nothing. On one occasion they decided to leave it idling outside the workshop all day which used the best part of half a tank of fuel, but didn't get us a fix. Each time we were billed for an hour's "diagnostics" and got nothing more than a report telling us that the fault could not be reproduced.

As I was dropping the keys off for the seventh time after the car had tried to kill me by accelerating itself towards the back of an artic, the service manager overheard my discussions with the service receptionist.

"What car is it?" he asked
"306 1.8 16v" I replied
"Idle stepper motor's gunked up" he said. "Seen loads of them. Can you hang on for 20 minutes"
"Yes" I reply.
He drives it into the workshop and they fiddle about under the bonnet for a bit. Backs the car out and hands me the keys back. Sorted. Never played up again.

To be fair, this didn't cost me anything as the company picked up the tab, but how can it take 7 chargeable visits to "diagnose" a fault that one guy managed to correctly pinpoint without even looking at the car?

Experiences with a local Ford dealer who looked after my Focus for 99,000 miles were fine, but then the car didn't go wrong. I agree it takes a fault before you see their true colours.

Cheers
DP

Dealer ~ main or not - pd
Interestingly I have noticed a couple of local dealers recently revert to their pre-Group name (one a BMW one). There has been no change in ownership but they obviously decided people like to see different names and tend not to trust large groups. Quite a few "indepedent sounding" dealers are not independent at all.

Other groups use multiple names for different areas, Lloyds TSB own a lot of dealers and use different names (such as Dovercourt for East Anglia).

Don't forget Lookers and HR Owen are now also one company.
Dealer ~ main or not - blue_haddock
Inchcape own approx 70 or so different dealers around the country and as pd states some of them are not operated under the Inchcape name but things like Coopers BMW which have a longstanding name and reputation in the area.
Dealer ~ main or not - pd
Inchcape operate as HA Fox, Hunters, Cooper, Maranello and a couple of others plus numerous Lexus and Mercedes generic dealers (i.e. Lexus Anytown etc.).

The small independents have been squeezed out by large groups with greater financial muscle and manufacturers wanting to deal with fewer dealer groups. A shame, but the way of the world I suppose. It has resulted in a big growth in non-franchised "specialist" service outlets who charge a lot less for labour which, whilst they may not have the latest techniques, are often a very cost effective alternative for general work once a car gets a few years old.
Dealer ~ main or not - rjr
Don't forget Lookers and HR Owen are now also one company.


No they are not. Lookers plc and HR Owen plc are 2 separate companies. Lookers purchased 6 Premier Automotive Group dealerships (Jaguar, Land Rover & Volvo) from HR Owen earlier this year but they did not acquire the whole company.
Dealer ~ main or not - pd
Fair enough ref. Lookers. I know my local Land Rover dealer is now Lookers but still have the HR Owen sign up. I guess that will change shortly.
Dealer ~ main or not - rjr
Almost certainly it was one of the Land Rover dealerships acquired in February. If so then it will change it's name to Hunters Land Rover - "place name" in due time.
Dealer ~ main or not - Marc
What makes it even more misleading is that major car retail chains regularly take over family owned main dealers and retain the name for marketing and continuity purposes as part of the deal.

To the average punter nothing has changed - this may lead you to think that your local main dealer is still a family owned business when this is no longer the case.
Dealer ~ main or not - cjehuk
What makes it even more misleading is that major car retail
chains regularly take over family owned main dealers and retain the
name for marketing and continuity purposes as part of the deal.

Yup, Inchcape just took over Lind Automotive group, so a selection of sites in the South East and East Anglia have also now joined the Inchape umbrella.

The best service I've had from any Audi dealer did not come from the one I work for but Listers Audi in Coventry. They've always been immaculate in their response, to the point that I would pay more and buy my next Audi from there simply because of the service.
 

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