B-Max looks to be a hit

Time 3:38 am, April 26, 2012

FORD’S new B-Max compact MPV really is a car for dealers to get excited about.

That’s the verdict of Philip Maskell, chairman and managing director of Essex Ford.

The all-new compact MPV features a winning combination of unique design, unrivalled economy and some of the most advanced small car technology in Europe.

Its easy-access door system provides unobstructed entry and exit with hinged front doors and sliding rear doors integrating the central body pillars – a feature that strikes people immediately when they see the car for the first time.

The new car also achieves class-leading fuel economy and the lowest CO2 emissions for both petrol and diesel engines.

And it’s the first European car to offer SYNC, Ford’s voice-activated, in-car connectivity system.

There is just one B-Max in the UK at the moment – but it was given to Maskell and his team so they could hold a special preview event, which took place on Monday.

Maskell, whose company runs five dealerships across south Essex in towns such as Basildon, Billericay and Southend, told Car Dealer: ‘It was a very exciting day.

‘The amount of interest certainly surprised us. There was an amazing buzz in the showroom, it just didn’t stop.

‘Ford are calling this vehicle an urban vehicle but if anything they are under-estimating it. It’s a ”mum, dad and the kids” vehicle but I was also talking to an elderly lady with a walking stick who said the ease of access, especially to the back seats, was amazing.

‘The benefit for the dealer network is that this is a unique product. The reaction we had on Monday was a unanimous ”wow”. This is a vehicle we can sell with confidence and we should be able to make the list price stick.’

Matt Brown, group marketing director, added: ‘More than 100 people came along and everyone loved the car with its stunning design.

‘We booked 35 test drives and actually took orders for two B-Max vehicles on the day… and we also sold a Fiesta which we wouldn’t have sold otherwise!

‘For our company, this vehicle represents a huge opportunity and and it’s a very exciting prospect as it’s a good conquest opportunity. We’re likely to see new Ford customers coming through.’

The man at the top of Ford in Britain, Mark Ovenden, is also optimistic about the car’s potential to sell well. The first B-Maxs will be delivered to their owners in September and the company is hoping to shift around 14,000 of the vehicles a year, possibly more.

Ovenden told us: ‘You can see for yourself that the concept is so new and so different.

‘The dealer response has been great and the reaction to it when we gave it to Phil was superb.

‘We will be taking the vehicle round other dealerships in the south-east. It’s a great way to gauge early reaction to it.’

Dave Brown's avatar

Dave, production editor on Car Dealer Magazine, is a journalist with more than 30 years' experience in the worlds of newspapers, magazines and public relations.

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