Report: Ford auto dealers in Mexico face branding crisis after canceled plant
At least 20 Ford auto dealerships in Mexico experiencing low sales have closed or shifted to other brands in the last months. The company faces a negative sentiment among Mexicans after it canceled a plan to build a US$ 1.6 billion plant in San Luis Potosi and announced it will move Focus production to China, dealership owners said to newspaper El Economista on condition of anonymity.
“They criticized Ford’s marketing and communications teams for the poor handling around the case and told the brand faces a crisis”, says the newspaper in its article.
“They explained that more than half of the dealer network nationwide are in red figures, others will stop making more investments in the brand and will remain managing their inventory before this hard blow,” El Economista added.
Ford Mexico reported an 8.2% drop in sales during the first half of 2017 to 40,113 units, compared to 43,702 vehicles delivered over the same period of the previous year. Its luxury brand Lincoln spiked 35.1% to 728 units, from 1,121 vehicles sold in the first half of 2016.
In comparison Kia, which just entered its third year selling cars in the Mexican market, sold 41,055 units in the first half of year to displace the Michigan automaker from the seventh position in sales volume.
“Scratching off the plant in San Luis Potosi is a factor that has affected the image of the brand,” said an owner of several dealerships from different automakers who closed a Ford and a Lincoln franchises in the state of Veracruz amid low sales.
It’s worth noting that the report does not include any statement from Ford Mexico regarding this matter, and the newspaper doesn’t offer an explanation on whether they asked the company for a response or not.