COLOGNE - Ford's German dealers have welcomed Nick Scheele as the new president of Ford of Europe. But Volker Reichstein, head of the German Ford dealer council, has at least one major difference of opinion with Scheele - and it is an opinion shared with the other council members.
'We have to be represented in the full-sized class,' Reichstein, owner of Autohaus Reichstein in Heidenheim, said in an interview here. 'For German dealers, it is a prerequisite to be in that class. Otherwise, we are not competitive.'
That feeling is shared by Hans-Georg Schroder, owner of Schroder Automobile GmbH, a Ford deal in Anklam, eastern Germany, who sells about 200 cars a year. Schroder is also a member of the dealer council.
'The dealer body needs a full-sized car for economic reasons, and to strengthen the brand and dealer image,' Schroder said.
Larger cars also attract higher dealer margins.
Ford has had no entrant in the full-sized class since the company dropped the Scorpio in 1998 because of poor sales. Ford has no plans currently for a replacement. When the Scorpio was dropped, Ford said it would be replaced by the launch of Lincoln to Europe later this year. However, the recent purchase of Volvo has led to the postponement of Lincoln's European introduction - perhaps for good.
'I recognize we had a large, loyal customer body for that segment, and we have to find ways of handling that,' said Scheele.