Ford accessory stand goes high-tech


OAKVILLE, ONT. – Walk into the showroom at Oak-Land Ford and you will see the future of Ford’s accessory display program hard at work.

The booth, one of 70 in Canadian dealerships right now, marks the initial rollout of the Blue Oval’s new wave of accessory in-store set-ups.

“It’s a great system,” says Sean Draper, Oak-Land general sales manager. “It has 1,800 components on it with prices and colours. Even if we don’t have the car customers are looking for on the lot, they can still see what it will look like.”

In the centre of the booth is a medium-sized touch screen featuring the entire 2009-2010 Ford and Lincoln lineup. Vehicles can be rotated to get a clear view of any accessory from multiple angles.

Colours can be changed with a touch. Accessories are divided by electronics, exterior and interior options.

Simply press the one you want and it will appear on the vehicle. The price will also appear on the left side of the screen so consumers can see the tally as they shop.

Bev Goodman of Ford Canada’s parts and service marketing division said the limited rollout to a fraction of Ford’s stores started in December.

“We didn’t want to make it available to all our dealers immediately and chose to give it to our largest dealers first and examine the success of the program,” she says.

The model is based on the U.S. version, but Ford reps said they do not have a definitive timeline on when the rest of the dealer network will see the updated accessory stands. Draper says customers are introduced to the system after they have purchased a vehicle but before they head into the F&I office.

“The sales person will generally show them their model and go through some of the accessories available to them,” he says.

Oak-Land’s system is linked to a colour printer that gives customers a full-colour printout of their vehicle with the various Ford accessories of their choosing.

In addition to the retail cost of the item, he says the store’s stand will calculate the monthly payment for a term they load.

The response to the program has been very positive with new car customers but the popularity with used-car customers has been the real surprise, he says.

“We have found that used-car customers like it even though we may not have all the vehicles in the system. It really gives people a chance to see what the part will look like on the vehicle before they pay for it.”