We have already seen a green car dealership here in South Africa when a certain Korean firm launched its own one last year. Now Ford is going down the same route with an all new R35-million state-of-the-art green Action Ford dealership in Krugersdorp.
Some of the technology implemented in the facility includes a new indirect counter-flow evaporative cooling system for controlling the climate on the showroom floor as there are no heaters installed, which conserves electricity.
The system used for cooling draws in fresh air and cools it by evaporating water, without adding to the moisture content in the air and thus avoiding the creation of a humid environment. It’s also possible for the dealership to leave doors and windows open without affecting the efficiency of the cooling system.
Energy cost savings of between 80% and 90% are expected with this new-generation air-conditioning system. It is estimated that it will take just 10 years to recoup the costs of the system and Ford is monitoring it closely in evaluating its performance to see if it will be viable for other dealerships.
There are also plans to install solar panels on the roof to power the entire dealership while other green initiatives, like using recycled water to wash cars, are also being implemented.
As from May, a new type of service process will be implemented that makes the booking, administrating and completion of vehicle servicing and repairs entirely paperless. For example, when a customer takes their car in for a service, it will be photographed from every angle and the pictures made available to the client to ensure that the car is returned the same as when it arrived. This also allows for the mechanic to send the customer a picture of a worn part, making the customer’s decision to replace it easier.
“These technologies help make running a dealership far more efficient,” says Hartogh Streicher, dealer principal at Action Ford Krugersdorp.
The idea for this dealership started one year ago as part of the Ford Greenfield dealership plan. This global plan is aimed at incorporating more environmentally friendly technologies, which include using energy-efficient LED lighting and larger windows that let in more natural light.
This is the first of many green Ford dealers, as two others are being planned in Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg’s Woodmead area.
In conjunction with greener dealerships, Ford is also taking steps to conserve energy at its manufacturing facilities. At the Silverton assembly plant, where the Ford Ranger is built, a programme has been instituted to help reduce energy consumption by 5% in the next year. Additionally, a Wastewater Treatment Plant with state-of-the-art technology was built to ensure minimal environmental impact and doubling the output of recycled water.