Ford to Review Dealership Network

Ford Motor Co. (F) may review the size of its vast dealer network for possible reductions as the auto maker moves ahead with a broader restructuring that includes shutting 14 factories in North America, a senior executive said Friday.

"As we go forward, we will make intelligent decisions, looking at our dealer network, working with our dealer partners, to make sure that just as we are right-sizing our manufacturing footprint, we have the right size for our dealer footprint as well," Mark Fields, president of Ford's Americas operations, said.

Fields was answering a question from a group of auto dealers at an event sponsored by J.D. Power, a day ahead of the industry's major dealer convention.

When asked whether Ford had too many dealer affiliates, Fields said that the company's geographic coverage was "very good," but conceded that some rural dealerships were less efficient in generating sales than those in the bigger markets.

Fields also said Ford was taking a more collaborative approach to working with its dealers as it cuts costs and readies a new line-up more heavily weighted toward passenger cars and hybrid vehicles.

"I think to one degree or another we have been arrogant in the past," Fields said.