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Ford To Consolidate Dealerships

November 24, 1997

DETROIT (AP) _ Ford Motor Co. will consolidate some dealerships in Tulsa, Okla., and San Diego so it can better compete with megadealer chains, the automaker said.

The agreement announced Monday involves six Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealers in Tulsa and four Lincoln-Mercury dealers in the South County area of San Diego, Ford said.

The dealers in Tulsa will form a partnership with Ford called the Ford Retail Network. The new venture will involve fewer storefronts, larger inventories and new approaches such as no-haggle selling and salaried salesmen, said Ford spokesman John Ochs.

He said details of the plan should be worked out by early next year.

The San Diego venture is similar, but Ford said it has purchased those dealerships in recent months.

Ford attempted similar plans in Salt Lake City and Indianapolis, but scrapped the ideas in September and October when too many dealers objected. In Tulsa and San Diego, Ochs said, dealers want the arrangement.

The experiment is being spurred by new competition from a new breed of megadealer chains, such as Republic Industries Inc., and used-car superstore chains such as Circuit City Stores Inc.’s CarMax.

Ford believes fewer dealers serving larger territories would mean less interbrand competition and less overhead and distribution expense. The dealerships also would give Ford more say in how its vehicles are sold.

Ford is continuing talks with dealers in other cities, Ochs said.

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