WHEN Ford began its Ford CV Apprentice scheme at the beginning of the year, some dealers were sceptical of its likely outcome.
But already one apprentice has sold 80 vans – with three months left to the end of the year. And the programme will continue in 2014.
The CV Apprentice scheme was identified when Ford realised its experienced van dealer sales staff were nearer drawing their pension than drawing in new customers to its expanding range of vans.
“We realised we had a problem when we identified that most of our experienced CV staff were closer to retirement than recruitment,” commented Ford sales director, Andy Barratt.
“So it was important that we enabled apprentices to learn from the old hands about how to advise customers on the right vans for their needs.
“You’ve got to be an expert when you’re selling CVs. Because if you get it wrong with the customer you’re toast.”
The scheme took in 50 apprentices in 2013 and will do the same again in 2014. Dealers were free to take on apprentices or not.
“CV salesmen rarely leave a dealer. They build up a good database and rapport with customers.
“So it was crucial to plug what was potentially a critical knowledge gap by allowing apprentices to learn from the old hands,” added Andy.
Ford’s product roll out will see it covering every sector of the business van market following the launches of the Ford Transit Custom and Ford Transit Connect, with the new Ford Transit 2 tonne van and Courier still to appear to give it the widest van range ever.