The Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa and its dealer network are investing R20 million in a remarketing and factory-backed used vehicle programme.

The Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) and its dealer network are investing R20 million in a remarketing and factory-backed used vehicle programme.

The R20-million investment includes dealership upgrades, FMCSA facility upgrades to that of a full reconditioning centre, the training of staff, branding and advertising.

Remarketing manager at FMCSA Tania Cleary said the intention of the programme was to upgrade all the dealers within the network: "Dealers are expected to invest in the new corporate identity upgrades and also in staff training. All dealers will have undergone the fundamental changes by December 2005".

The used vehicle programme comprises Ford/Mazda Direct, which will only be sold via selected dealers throughout South Africa, and Quality Approved Used, to which all dealers will finally subscribe.

Vehicles bought from FordDirect, Mazda Direct and Quality Approved Used pass through two selection stages, the first being a check for accident damage, service history, mileage and age. Once the vehicle passes this step it is taken to the factory inspector who performs mechanical, body, interior and drive train checks, including a road test. The vehicle is then prepared by technicians and qualified SMART repair specialists and approved by the AA before being passed through to the Ford approved valet.

Then the vehicle receives a customer information booklet detailing the warranty, service/maintenance schedules and AA approval. All the vehicles are identified by a unique, tamperproof hologram on the window.

“We will ensure that the VIN numbers are consistent, we will check that hand/service books and audio/security manuals are in place and ensure that all keys are in the vehicle. We will check the interior for any possible damage and we will ensure that all the vehicle's controls are in perfect working order,” Cleary said.

According to Cleary, the vehicles should comply with the original Ford specification, including tool kits, locking wheel nut keys, wheel valve dust caps, tonneau covers, load space covers, all ignition and access keys and Service Packs. Vehicles must have a complete service history as recommended in the Ford Service Plan.

Should body and paint repairs be required, they have to be completed using Ford approved paint and repair materials. Furthermore, all glass, wheels, tyres and wheel trims, must comply with the original Ford specification for the vehicle in question. The tread depth on tyres must exceed 3 mm.

Unlike FordDirect and Mazda Direct vehicles, vehicles within the Quality Approved Used programme can hail from any manufacturer, but all undergo mileage and service history verfication and a 108-point check.

FordDirect and Mazda Direct customers will receive roadside assistance free of charge. In addition, for even more peace of mind, they will be privy to a 30-day exchange plan whereby, if they change their minds, they can receive a replacement vehicle.

Only selected dealers are entitled to represent FordDirect and Mazda Direct, Cleary said. "Initially, 13 pilot dealers in major centres will market FordDirect and Mazda Direct. A further 17 will come on board during 2004."

By the end of 2005, all 130 Ford dealers countrywide will become Quality Approved Used accredited. However, FordDirect and Mazda Direct will remain the prime property of only the 30 dealers.

Original article from Car