A few weeks ago I attended a Ford Dealer training day. I was genuinely interested at the level of training on offer because, like any customer, I hoped there was plenty.
The car I was there to see was the all- new Ford Focus. I got to drive one of the first UK cars, too (odd steering, buttery clutch, small up front). The dealers there got to twin test a Titanium spec Focus back to back with an ‘S’ spec Golf. Hardly a fair match, is it? I think they realised as much.
We were told how all the tech works in enough detail to avoid confusion, but still I left with a few questions. However, that may just be my fault for thinking too slowly. And, fact fans, I did manage to find out that the new Focus’ stop/start system will run on the main battery – not an extra one like the last gen’s Econetic model.
We were sat down to look at the car’s design which was explained to us ‘on a dealer level’ apparently. Though our teacher (for want of a better word) did use accurate design terminology, the whole thing felt a little dumbed down.
‘If you don’t know that, why should your customers stay and listen to you?’
In theory a massive training day is a great way to teach dealers about their new product. In reality it was a great lesson in how to be patronised. Why? Every room I was in I felt as though I was being spoken down to. Everything was spelt out in the simplest terms – not ideal when your job is to know the product inside out. There were more than a few little points to nitpick – but I shan’t go too in-depth.
One thing, however, will forever confuse me. This is the launch of the newest version of one of the most successful products Ford has ever launched. Ever. It’s full of tech that most manufacturers won’t add to their cars unless you spend loads of money. It has more standard gear than a BMW 7-Series, too.
But over the entire day that’s the only competitor comparison I saw. Well, aside from an unfairly specced Golf. Surely you know that the Astra and Golf don’t have lots of the Focus’ toys. But which ones do they have? And if you don’t know that, why should your customers stay and listen to you? There’s a chap down the road with a competitor and you could save them a journey…
Who is Alex Goy?
He’s a motoring journalist with a lot to say. He also produces a brilliant podcast. Check it out by typing bit.ly/alexgoy into a browser