Ford Motor Co. recently announced it will sell the 23 car dealerships that it owns in Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City and Rochester, N.Y., by the end of this year.
The move by the No. 2 automaker should calm the nerves of RV dealers who were worried that major RV manufacturers might eventually follow Ford’s lead and buy RV dealerships.
Ford’s move into auto retailing was extremely unpopular with the dealer body and led to efforts by dealers in several states to lobby for legislation to prohibit carmakers from buying dealerships.
The dealers, basically, felt they could not win if they had to compete against a dealership owned by their supplier.
Ford first tried to buy 21 of its franchised dealerships in Indianapolis because it felt Ford dealers were competing against other Ford dealers, instead of competing against, for example, Chevrolet dealers.
The No. 2 automaker’s goal was to transform most of its Indianapolis dealership locations into service centers with only about four or so locations continuing as sales and service centers. However, the Indianapolis dealers refused to sell, so Ford scaled back its program and shifted it to the Salt Lake City metro area, where it encountered less resistance.
Earlier, Ford reached an agreement to sell the seven dealerships that it owned in the Tulsa, Okla., area.
The chairman of Ford’s dealer council, Jerry Reynolds of Garland, Tex., called Ford’s decision to sell its dealerships “welcome news for me and every Ford dealer in America,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper.