EAs COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted to Alert Level 4 and in line with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) regulations gazetted on 12 May 2020, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has confirmed that its nationwide dealers are beginning to open for business with an absolute priority to ensure a safe and sanitary environment for all Ford customers and dealership employees.
New and enhanced tools, processes and policies have been implemented across the Ford dealer network that are designed to mitigate potential risks and provide peace of mind to anyone visiting a Ford dealer.
Additionally, FMCSA has provided guidelines on personal protective equipment (PPE) to all Ford dealers to ensure they can meet all health and hygiene requirements of the new policies.
“We’re keen to have things start returning to normal across our dealer network following a phased-in approach announced by the South African government on 12 May,” says Neale Hill, Managing Director of FMCSA. “The health and safety of our Ford customers and entire dealership team is our highest priority, and we will gradually be restoring our sales and service capabilities in line with the DTIC directives.
“While opening our Ford dealerships to provide in-person vehicle sales and service in the weeks ahead is a welcome move forward, our aim is to work very closely with each of our dealers to ensure we are providing the safest and most sanitary environment possible,” Hill adds.
The phased-in approach for vehicle sales and service commences from 13 to 23 May, and allows for dealers to operate with up to 30-percent of its employees.
Strict social distancing guidelines and mandatory wearing of face masks is required throughout Alert Level 4, including daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms for all staff. Vehicle sales must be done remotely via online platforms or telephonically where possible, test drives will be conducted by appointment only, and home delivery of vehicles is required.
During Alert Level 4, all visitors and customers are also required to wear a face mask and must sign a register, and no children are permitted access to dealerships.
All vehicles will be meticulously sanitised after any service visit, and following all test drives. Vehicles on the sales floor will be regularly disinfected, and the dealers will use recommended cleaning products and procedures to ensure that vehicles are clean and safe when returned to customers.
In Phase Two, from 25 May to 6 June, dealerships will operate with up to 60-percent of their employees. Limited customers will be allowed to enter dealerships under very strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines, and remote vehicle sales will continue for customers with access to online services.
On-site pick-ups and deliveries of fully sanitised cars will be allowed under strict hygiene conditions, with an option of home delivery if possible.
Phase Three, which runs from 8 June until Alert Level 4 is lifted, allows dealerships to operate with its full staff complement. On-site customer contact will be allowed but should be kept to a minimum.
“In line with the government guidelines, we are working on short, medium and longer-term measures to further assist our customers for vehicle sales and service offerings, and will communicate these in due course,” Hill states. “In the meantime, our dealership sales staff continue to be available online or telephonically for new or used vehicle sales.
“Service customers are advised to contact their local Ford dealer to make bookings, and they will be accommodated at the first available opportunity. We acknowledge that there will be an extensive backlog due to the seven-week lockdown, we are working closely with the dealers to minimise this and expedite the servicing of vehicles.
Our parts distribution centre is already up and running and supporting our dealers,” Hill says.
New and enhanced safety measures that Ford dealers across South Africa are implementing include:
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available across the dealerships, particularly in high visibility and high traffic areas
- If an employee is experiencing any flu-like symptoms, he or she will be asked to promptly seek medical advice and return only when/if free of symptoms
To support its customers, Ford has also introduced the following initiatives:
Expiring Service Plans
All Ford vehicles with an expiring Service Plan which required a scheduled service to be performed between 1 March and 31 May 2020 will receive extended support of an additional two months. This is valid on all Ford Protect Extended Products* as well as all Ford Inclusive Service Plans, and is applicable from 1 June until 31 July 2020, to ensure that customers are able to complete the required services once dealer operations resume (* excludes Ford Protect Extended Warranty).
For those customers who were prevented from scheduling warranty repairs during the COVID-19 crisis before their warranty coverage lapsed (between 1 March and 31 May 2020), Ford and its dealers are giving them a reasonable opportunity to receive the intended benefits of their warranty. Customers should contact their dealer to make an appointment for the repair. Ford and its dealers will give customers a reasonable opportunity to receive the intended benefits of their warranties.
Personal and business Ford Credit customers that are impacted by reduced income or cashflow and find themselves in financial difficulty have the option of requesting a payment deferral. Ford Credit customers that have any concerns or would like to restructure their finance can call 0860 667 667 or e-mail FCrelief@absa.africa. Information is also available by following this link to a dedicated page on the Ford website: https://www.ford.co.za/buying/ford-credit/covid-19support/
For more information on the initiatives available in South Africa, please contact the Customer Relationship Centre on 0860 011 022 or firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.ford.co.za or access Ford’s social media channels on @FordSouthAfrica for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Ford dealers across South Africa have started re-opening in line with the government’s Alert Level 4 directives which allow a gradual phased-in process commencing 13 May
- Safety and hygiene measures introduced at all Ford dealers to mitigate risks and provide peace of mind for customers and dealer staff
- Customer support mechanisms introduced including extensions for expiring service plans and warranties, payment deferral options for Ford Credit clients