Ford dealership branding going green


Ford Canada’s Millennium facility imaging program is now incorporating a number of sustainable and environmentally friendly construction choices for dealers looking to update their stores.

The program, started in 2004, was aimed at updating the some 450 Ford stores across Canada. Scott Cauvel, V-P of sales for Ford Canada, told Canadian AutoWorld that plan now includes incorporating a number of “green” choices to help dealers reduce their carbon footprint and improve the energy efficiency of their operations.

But in addition to the environmental angle, Cauvel also said the Blue Oval would fund the architectural rendering process with of R.H. Carter Architects Inc. for the roughly 300 dealerships that have yet to sign on for the Millennium branding program.

“In many ways, with the economy and where the industry has gone in the last few years, we have looked to re-launch [Millennium] in many ways and talk to the other two-thirds of our dealers and encourage them to move towards Millennium,” he said. “Along the way, we have incorporated a lot of the green elements.”

Ford Canada continues to work with Robert Arnone, an LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) accredited architect with R.H. Carter, to include some of these new sustainable choices:

-    Landscaping: Using indigenous plants, trees and flowers that require little watering.
-    Paint: All paints used are low VOC paints.
-    Lighting Controls: Timers can turn lights (internal and external) on and off at specific times and sensors monitor movement in order to turn lights down when people are not in the room.
-    Glass: Obscure glass, shades or glazed glass systems help to control room temperature.
-    Carpet: Options for carpet include those that are manufactured in a sustainable way and that can be recycled at the end of their lifespan.
-    Tile: Choices range from tile that contains 30 to 50-per cent recycled content, to others that minimize or eliminate waste during the manufacturing process.

Representatives say many of the new options are “cost-neutral” when compared to traditional materials meaning dealers will pay roughly the same for a more environmentally sound product.

Ford has stopped short at calling the program “mandatory,” though Cauvel did express interest in signing up its remaining dealer network. He said the automaker is flexible and recognizes that branding equates to a huge investment at some of its smaller stores.

“We are different than many or our key competitors because we are represented in so many small communities across Canada. We have about 140 dealerships that I would call rural or situated in outlying markets. That’s where we need to bring in the cost effect approach to this.

Our dealers know to do the right thing for their marketplace and their consumer. They are business leaders in their local markets and they’ll look at this as a great option for their market, not in terms of a mandatory element.”

Interested dealers can enroll in the highly flexible program. It will start with a facility visit and will be followed by a tailored draft design based on the dealer’s needs.