Buying a vehicle is not the real tough part. Maintaining a vehicle
is what could turn out to be a nightmare. Unavailability of spare parts,
terrible service standards or exorbitantly priced spares can result in untold
misery to owners of cars. But American car maker Ford says its cars are not
only robust but they are also easy to maintain. A visit to the company’s
technical centre in Manesar near Delhi revealed a lot about the after sales and
service standards that Ford maintains.
We all know Ford makes robust cars which have the right amount of
technology and perform well on road. But the strategy behind their after sales
service is a much lesser known fact to most. Surprisingly vehicles sold by Ford
are not too expensive to maintain and are backed by top notch service standard.
Ford has also got one of the most transparent systems in place when
it comes to the cost of service and parts. Through the service price and parts
price calculator on their website, Ford customers are able to know the exact
cost of periodic maintenance and parts before even sending their cars to a Ford
workshop. This does bring a sense of transparency in the system. Ford has further
gone and ensured that they reduce the replacement cost of parts using a sub
assembly system of replacements. Many of the auto parts used in their cars are
broken down into sub components. During the event of a malfunction only a
specific sub part will need to be replaced, thus bringing down the overall cost
Ford's latest offering, the Figo Aspire gets about 850 sub assembly
parts which will ensure that the overall parts replacement cost during the
tenure of ownership is reduced by changing only the affected sub assembly part.
The company is also working alongside their suppliers to ensure higher levels
of localisation, thus significantly reducing the cost of parts used in their
vehicles. While Ford has taken care of two very critical aspects related to
after sales service, these would mean nothing without the ease of availability
of parts. The company has set up more than 7 lakh POS for the distribution of
their genuine parts across the country. Customers can thus easily avail these
parts from multi brand workshops or their local mechanics as well. Ford's
genuine parts distributors have been appointed in Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab,
Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Daman & Diu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala,
Tamil Nadu, AP, Telangana, West Bengal and Guwahati.
So, what would be the cost of running these vehicles for say
1,00,000 kms? Ford has claimed that their Figo Aspire petrol model will incur a
running cost of just Rs. 0.37 per km, while the diesel models will incur Rs.
0.45 per km. But would bigger models which the company is retailing also
possess such impeccable figures. The EcoSport is one of Ford's most popular
vehicles in India and comes with a running cost of Rs. 0.42 per kilometre for
the petrol variant, while diesel incurs a running cost of Rs. 0.46 per km. Even
their mammoth Endeavour works up a faint Rs. 0.68/ km for the 2.2L diesel
engine variant and Rs. 0.72/ km for the 3.2L version.
Ford has further gone and setup more than 185 outlets (Ford Assured)
for purchase of multi brand second hand vehicles. The company will guarantee
transparency, quality, choice, pricing and warranty of 20,000kms or 1 year. To
enhance the experience of ownership, Ford has also set up a vehicle
personalisation centre where customers can choose a variety of different
customisations for their vehicles. Currently these options are available only
for the EcoSport model. The company has a network of 376 sales and service
facilities in more than 209 cities across India also has initiatives like 24X7
road side assistance.