Auto Service World
News   February 1, 2017   by Adam Malik

Ford shifts into aftermarket

Ford has launches Omnicraft, a brand of replacement parts for all makes of non-Ford vehicles. Customers of competitor vehicles can purchase parts and have their vehicles serviced at Ford dealerships in the U.S. There is no word on Canadian

Ford wants a piece of the growing automotive parts industry.

The Detroit-based automaker announced the launch of Omnicraft, a brand to be sold through Ford dealers and independent repair shops to fit all types of vehicles. That includes competitor cars.

So that means customers can take their non-Ford brand vehicle to a Ford dealership for service.

This news comes as dealerships saw an increase in their share of the service business. J.D. Power’s 2017 Market Facts, published in the December 2016 issue of Jobber News, reported that dealers had a 44.4 per cent share of the market, up from just over 42 per cent the year before.

Frank Toney, president of the global Ford customer service division told Reuters that the global business for auto parts and service will expand by 70 per cent in around the next six years. Reuters reported the parts industry is estimated at more than $500 billion.

Ford currently has the Motorcraft brand for Ford vehicles.

“Omnicraft is a significant benefit to any vehicle owner who needs parts or to have their vehicle serviced,” Toney said in a news release from Ford. “Now, owners of non-Ford vehicles have access to quality parts at a competitive price, backed by Ford and installed by Ford’s world-class certified technicians.”

In preparing for launch, Ford said it “focused on developing the most commonly requested parts at a competitive price.” It listed items like oil filters, brake pads and rotors as initial offerings.

“Today, 1,500 parts numbers are available with plans to eventually reach approximately 30 parts categories and 10,000 parts,” Toney said. “We targeted the most requested parts first to provide our dealers with a solid foundation of inventory.”

Ford said it will first sell Omnicraft parts at Ford and Lincoln dealerships before being available at other authorized distributors later this year.

Cant see it making a difference

It is not known when Omnicraft will cross the border into Canadian dealerships. Ford of Canada did confirm that the brand will be available here, but did not offer further information. A company representative said more details will be made available in the future.

Nonetheless, the feeling on both sides of the border is that this won’t affect business in either country. The prevailing belief is that it won’t have much success.

The aftermarket “is not at all threatened,” said Diane Freeman, executive director of the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario after speaking with colleagues in the U.S, saying the differentiator will be customer service.

“Dealers have never been strong in customer service,” she said. “They’re waiting to see it even stays around … they’re waiting to see how it unfolds.”

That said, Freeman and others in the industry are keeping an eye on things. “It will be interesting to see how it turns out.”

Art Wilderman, executive director at Canadian Independent Automotive Association in Calgary, thinks that with Ford developing their own brand, shop owners will see reps knocking on their doors. “(the news) would imply then that they’re going to go out to the shops and try to market those parts (instead of) their OEM parts.”

“People choose independents because they’ve had experiences that make them choose independents.”

Art Wilderman, Canadian Independent
Automotive Association

But, like others, Wilderman “can’t see it making a difference, to tell you the truth” because of loyalty. Customers are quite comfortable with their independent shop, he said, so it will be hard for Ford to get a Chevrolet owner to come to them.

“People choose independents because they’ve had experiences that make them choose independents.”

And a big trend growing in the industry is to specialize in certain vehicle makes, he added – one shop may choose only service Hondas and Toyotas while another will do Chevrolets and Chryslers

“It’s surprising they would head down this road,” he said, noting that Ford’s recent consumer ad campaign warned customers of buying “from parts unknown.”

“Everybody’s going to be going ‘Hmm, where are you getting your GM and Toyota parts from, Ford?’” Wilderman laughed.

“It’s a shot at getting more aftermarket business, but it’s going to take quite a bit of time, quite a bit of marketing.”

France Daviault, senior director of stakeholder relations at the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, said the ripple effects of this move is unknown.

“With no details available on the Canadian rollout at this time, we don’t have enough information to ascertain what the impact will be in Canada. We, however, will be monitoring this development closely.”


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2 Comments » for Ford shifts into aftermarket
  1. Considering the coverage, warranty and incentive programs that Delco offers, Ford has some catching up to do. As far as GM dealers servicing other brands and installing Delco parts on them…. I have yet to see one marketing to “off brands”. If Omnicraft can do the job half as well as Delco has, as an independent service professional I would entertain a relationship.

  2. Douglas says:

    “BEWARE OF PARTS UNKNOWN” Proceeds to sell you the product they tell you to avoid.

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