A report by Automotive News reveals that over 120 Ford dealers have signed on with the automaker’s initiative to open fleet-focused commercial service centers across the nation.
Although Ford already works with multiple commercial service centers as part of its Ford Pro network, these are typically fleet-only, and often struggle to meet demand, even with the automaker’s support. The new additions will instead be operated by retailers, who have their own set of rules to follow.
Participating dealers are required to install 24 or more commercial service bays, operate at least five vans for on the go maintenance and provide service a minimum of 72 hours a week. Although an official cost estimate has yet to be provided, information obtained by Automotive News suggests that early participants spent between $9 million and $15 million on the facilities, and that dealers meeting certain conditions could be provided up to $550,000 in funding by Ford.
Ford’s recent push to introduce retail-focused initiatives has often been met with criticism and frustration from its dealership body. When the automaker introduced a set of electric vehicle rules in 2022, which required dealers to make investments between $500,000 to $1 million and install multiple EV chargers, many storeowners publicly denounced the policy and declined to participate. Since then, the brand has shifted its tone, working more closely with its franchisees to create more mutually beneficial programs. This time, Ford targeted dealers in areas with high commercial service activity to ensure the new centers were profitable.