Georg Auer asked Brian White, Ford of Europe's dealer manager, about Ford's plans to reduce its dealer count.
How will Ford's network of regional dealers work?
There is no change in the dealer network. Not in the structure. All we are doing is, in certain locations, amalgamating certain territories so that the actual dealer will be slightly larger.
Could the number of dealers in Austria, for example, be cut?
We do not intend to create big centers. We are just reducing the number of actual dealers in the market.
The number of points will probably be the same; the dealers will have several operations each.
So will the big ones swallow the smaller ones?
There is no coercion. What we suggest is that we find dealers who can amicably agree on terms for one dealer to buy out others.
Won't it be like Germany, where Volkswagen kicked out so many dealers?
No. What we are doing is pure evolution. I don't want to say, if we see an opportunity, we won't assist the dealers to get together.
How long will this reorganization of European dealers take?
It will probably take 15 years. We might see the bulk of the thing done within the first five to six years.
All dealers agree there are too many retailers, but they don't think they themselves are superfluous. Can you just leave this to evolution?
We know whom we want. We will watch that it moves in the way we want it to move.