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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Treating Customers As Family Is One Of Ford Philippines Managing Director's Top Three Priorities


Ford Philippines’s new managing director, Michael “Mike” Breen revealed his top three priorities for the Philippine market.

The first is to maintain the business continuity set by his predecessors, PK “Uma” Umashankar and Bertrand Lessard. This means that Ford Philippines will continue to rely on their strengths in the 4x4 pickup truck segment as well as small SUV segment in the near future.

Currently, out of the 34 vehicle variants made available by Ford in the Philippines, 15 are Ranger pickup trucks, including the soon-to-be-available Ranger Raptor X. From an outsider, it looks like Ford’s putting all their eggs in one basket, but this doesn’t seem to faze Breen.

He counters this by saying that it’s all about bringing in the right products at the right time and at the right prices. And he could be right: Ford is currently the country’s third best-selling car brand thanks primarily to the Ranger and Territory (together, they account for close to 70 percent of their total sales) says a lot.

That said, he’s looking at a “great growth opportunity” in the Commercial Vehicle (CV) segment. To this end, Breen says they will offer not only increase support for fleet accounts, but they also aim to bring in more products that cater specifically to this segment.

In connection with “bringing in the right products at the right time and at the right price”, Breen reveals that his second priority for Ford in the Philippines and that is to find opportunities in Ford’s global footprint and bring them locally, particularly in the area of vehicle connectivity.

Without directly saying so, it seems he’s implying that they’re working to bring Ford Pass to the Philippine market. The feature, which is already installed in Ford vehicles equipped with the latest version of SYNC 3 such as the Ranger, and even the Territory allows owners to use their smartphone to control their vehicle remotely. Among the things it can do include remote lock/unlock, remote start, give vehicle status updates, and even alert of any potential theft. The feature is already available in several Ford Asia-Pacific markets, so it’s just a matter of time before it’s brought here.

Breen is also looking to lay the foundations of electric vehicle or EV integration within Ford Philippines as well.

Finally, understanding the issues surrounding Ford service, Breen is looking to improve the overall customer experience, particularly in the area of aftersales. Working with their dealer partners, he wants to treat Ford owners as “family.” One solid measure that they’ve already managed to implement is to make spare parts more available and accessible than before.

Surprisingly, Breen, during the media roundtable tackled the supposedly “mafioso” style grip that Ford dealers have over the distributor.

“I don’t see working with the dealers as a ‘political situation’,” Breen says. “I see this as an essential relationship—a productive business relationship. Do we have discussions, and what they need from us? Absolutely, and that’s the way it should be. The take away from me is that we’re all in this together. Without each other, we cannot improve the customer experience.”

It seems Breen will have to work and coordinate with different teams to make his three Philippine market priorities work, but he’s no stranger to that kind of role. In 2016, he was appointed Truck and SUV Launch Manager in Ford Asia Pacific based in Shanghai, China where he facilitated the integration among teams in Marketing Communications, Media Communications, Truck, and various Asia Pacific markets to support the launch of the Ranger Raptor in 2018. In 2018, he moved to Bangkok, Thailand as Marketing Communications Launch Manager, Ford Asia Pacific Operations.

Do you think Ford Philippines is on the right path?

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