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Ford GT and Viper "service" at dealerships --- Really ???

Discussion in 'American Muscle' started by Doody, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    6,099
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    Mr. Doody
    sorry this is so long.

    i'm in Ford GT mode these days. just waiting now to see what happens at my dealer. they're expecting their first car in august and they claim one more this year as well. i'm supposedly top banana, but i'm not holding my breath either.

    but i'm feeling verklempt about the service issue and would be curious to hear others' opinions.

    the crux of my concern is that these guys spend their days selling and servicing F150s and other such non-exotic, non-limited-production, non-performance (with some minor arguments) vehicles.

    boston sportscar took care of my 355. they were stellar. i NEVER worried about whether the wheels were properly torqued or any other dumb crapola when i was doing 120. for better or for worse, i trusted their competency and they never steered my 355 wrong. but they weren't cheap.

    we all know what f-car mechanics charge. i have to assume that the local ford dealer isn't getting $100 to $125 per hour for Festiva brake work, right? if one shop is charging $110/hr and another shop is charging $65/hr, i think it's fair to assume that the guy actually doing the work is probably making a hell of a lot less per hour in the second case.

    and certainly there's not a blanket correlation of "salary" -vs- "competency" but on average, they're absolutely not disconnected either.

    so how does Ford plan to service these things? their web site claims that ANY Ford dealer can sell them. some small number of the cars will be distributed to dealers by lottery. i've heard stories that only the top 100 to 150 dealers will really get cars. i've heard stories that it'll get spread across the top 500 or so dealers. not sure what to believe. i just find it hard to believe that EVERY Ford dealer is going to be GT repair certified.

    and i am skeptical about the level of service a car like this may require and getting the proper service from a Ford dealer. this is WILDLY outside their normal course of business. the highest-end SVT mustangs are still sub $40K cars. if they **** it up they can just get a new one. you **** up a GT it's potentially a big problem.

    i've never bought a Ford. in fact, i'd never been in a Ford dealership until the GT came around. i have owned Chrysler products (Jeep Grand Cherokees - two of 'em) and service is, at best, "adequate". my first dealer was a small shop with no automation and no tracking - major pain to get info out of. my current dealer comes back with lots of "could not reproduce / could not find" crapola.

    a buddy of mine has a dodge pickup. he hates his dealer. total scam artist a$$-wipes. and the service was horrible (he's out of warranty so he takes it elsewhere now). horrific service stories. but he says he'd watch Vipers pull into the bays alongside POS pickups and he just cringed for the owners, only imagining the damage the mechanics were going to do.

    did Dodge figure out how to support Viper owners properly at the dealership?

    do folks think Ford can pull it off for the GT?

    doody.
     
  2. 96impalaSS

    96impalaSS F1 Rookie

    Dec 8, 2003
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    I think Ford has the Money and Materials to handle it, at least I would think. Not sure though.
     
  3. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
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    Apr 3, 2001
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    Randy
    Excellent question indeed.

    I have a feeling it will be something like Chevy did for the ZR1. Only certified techs, not a dealership, could touch the car. If you brought it into a dealership, and there wasn't a certified tech on it, well... they'd have to get one over from another shop, even if it entailed flying someone in from out of town. This isn't from my own experience, but only from what I've heard and read.

    When it comes to servicing the GT, I don't think there will be much at all to service, nor anything that complex. I would probably be safe to assume (eh, I know the word yea yea) that the GT will be easily servicable, more so than a 308 or any Ferrari for that matter.

    The thing to worry about here are the joyriders. It happens with every sportscar. A typical Ford dealership has some guys that snag your car and off to a joy ride they go. So, I would assume with this kind of car and bringing it into a typical dealership, there would be a contract from your side (the consumer) along with their side. Something to state they will not drive it and if it is abused in any way shape or form or even taken out for a joyride ... blah... fill in the blank. This should be an absolute must.

    Heck, I might drive a $33K S2000, but the fact is, most of the Hondas aren't that expensive at all. So people in service are used to seeing $15K Civics day in and day out. When an S shows up, it's party time. With several pieces of documentation from various individuals - people in the service department have been fired. (videos / audio / visual inspection of damages from joyrides, etc.) Think of this extreme... and then multiply it. Because the GT is so much more valuable than an F150.

    /my two cents.
     
  4. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    44,369
    Texas!
    Are you starting to get the shakes, Dude Man? Thinking about wearing some cheap sunglasses so nobody will see you as you sneak in the back of a, gasp, FORD dealership?

    Don't worry, be happy...

    BTW, my bidness partner and I have got our names down at several local dealerships. We got a call today from one who said that because the number one slot has been filed that, as number 2 on da list, a Ford GT could be ours, for a mere $300k.

    After we stopped laughing we told that we didn't want to deprive the true Ford guys. Thus, we'd pass on this one and wait for the next go round...

    Dr "Cheap Sunglasses" Tax
     
  5. Challenge

    Challenge Formula 3

    Sep 27, 2002
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    Doody, I'm speculating here but I would ASSume that not all Ford dealers will be qualified to service the GT. There will probably be select dealers (your larger ones) who have GT-certified techs. Special dealerships will probably get allocation and be certified to sell and service GT's (similar to Saleen Mustangs perhaps).

    Ford techs do not make $110/hr, that I can guarantee. I know some.
     
  6. robiferretti

    robiferretti F1 Rookie

    Oct 31, 2003
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    rob ferretti
    its still a ford car with ford parts, i would want a top ford mechanic on it. honestly i think thye are using the same engine as the lightening truck, so i wouldn't worry about it
     
  7. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    hello, and welcome to 'doody talk'... since i'm feeling a little verklempt, let's talk about patrick swayze's ass (circa dirty dancing) in acidwashed ripped jeans, while driving doody's GT.

    doody: if you're already willing to buy a ford, you're half way in the hole anyway --why worry? (just kidding.)
    The car will have a warranty, and while the engine/drivetrain has been redesigned, it's still a production based powerplant (found in other ford's) with a blower. There will be, no doubt, a select populous of specially trained techs to service the most discerning ford customers; it's the lot boy I'd worry about.
     
  8. JaguarXJ6

    JaguarXJ6 F1 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2003
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    Sunny
    Its a tweaked Ford Lightning engine, however, keep in mind they are SERVICING it not rebuilding it.

    The engine has real no major design flaws or major problems. Under the higher stress something might happen but they are not going to be dropping the engine or tearing into it anytime soon.

    Dr. G says he can drop his in under an hour (I think), it might be a little bit longer in the road going GT. If they can take care of SVT cars, they are more then competent enough to SERVICE a Ford GT with a Lightning engine.

    The purpose of the Ford GT is to k.i.s.s. Keep it simple stupid. Displacement, blower, cams, head and manifold work, and a suspension and we have the Ford GT. People have been tooling around in modified Cobras for years with more stress and higher output.

    If your this worried about simple service, then do it yourself. I have my oil changed at Jiffy Lube and my drain plug hasn't fell out yet and hasn't leaked a drop. So what? If a Ford GT goes in for minor servicing at a Ford dealership, there should be no major cause for concern. Worry about how they are going to treat you as a customer, not your car.

    Get used to the fact that its a simple back to basics approach for horsepower with a shape we recognize and a trick suspension. Thats it. You do not need to perform a several thousand dollar major service interval every 15k miles requiring an engine out. I know its tough to grasp but put in into perspective here...

    Do you want 2 liters more in displacement with a 7,000-8,000 redline and lower stresses or an Italian time bomb that requires a close watch, some of the most expensive servicing, or a muscle car with today's suspension technology and aero/exotic shape?

    Sunny
     
  9. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Aug 3, 2002
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    Carbon McCoy
    LMAO...!!!


    Doody, this question has been raised before; not just here, either, i'm sure... Any chance you've asked the Ford dealer about this, already...? Maybe they'd just say whatever to assure you, i don't know... but have you asked...?

    Go ask, we'll wait... While we wait, we'll discuss amongst ourselves, the Roman Empire, which was neither Roman nor an Empire. :)
     
  10. JaguarXJ6

    JaguarXJ6 F1 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2003
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    Sunny
    Already is with SVT certified mechanics and I agree. Keep watch on the personnel and how they treat you when you come in rather then what torque they will put on your lug nuts at...

    My brain tells me you should be checking things yourself anyway. What makes a car unreliable is not so much the mechanics, but the owners too.

    Sunny
     
  11. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    I was going to say something like this. With cars at "this level" it really is a good idea to crawl under it, and dick around down there (no intimations here...); ie, change the oil yourself, check the specs on all the bolts, buy the service manual and read/study it. Know your car. Also, if you begin to track it seriously (which by the super bowl comercial it's meant for) you'll want to hook up with a more specialized group of "in the knows" to aid you in setup/alignment/etc, and this will also get you much more familiar with the car; in essence, if you're worried about any aspect of dealer service competence, then take it upon yourself.
     
  12. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
    Professional Ferrari Technician Consultant

    Sep 18, 2002
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    Tom
    In regars to the joy ride thing..yes it does happen. It happend to me last week in fact. I brought an 04 Z06 to the dealer to do a Canadian spec change (car was bought in the U.S). All they had to do was activate the day time running lights and check to see if the rear bumper was of the right classification. They had know reason to test drive that car at all.

    I arrived after lunch to pick up the car. I look around the interior and there were boot marks on the passenger side of the dash,and an extra 10km on the odo. I flipped. I said what gives you the right to put 10km on a car that does not even need to be road tested? This car does not belong to you!! And to top it all off you messed up the interior of the car WTF do you have to say for you're self? He had no ansewer but to say he was sorry..and did not charge me anything for the work performed.

    This was just a Corvette,can you imagine the GT going into a Ford dealer? I know first hand what happens to fast cars that go into "normal" car dealers shops. Every senior tech has a go at it,and many times the car gets damaged. The jag dealer next to us has had 4 writeoffs in the last year becuase of tech "road testing" cars.

    You must be very careful..and if possiable stand there in the shop when it is being worked on and go with the tech afterwords for the road test.

    Tom
     
  13. F328 BobD

    F328 BobD Formula 3

    Mar 17, 2001
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    BobD
    I'm surprised Ford isn't selling them through Lincoln dealerships where there's a little more attention to the higher-end customer. That way you could take it in with all the other GT's (gray tops). :)
     
  14. AnotherDunneDeal

    AnotherDunneDeal F1 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
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    James Dunne
    I can just see it now. Owner of a concrete construction company sends his purchasing agent in to buy a fleet of f250 and F350 trucks for the business.
    "Oh, and while you are in there, pick me up one of those new GT sports car things, too. And remember to tell them we are on a fleet discount pricing plan". Yea, right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  15. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
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    Mr. Doody
    thanks for the thoughts on this.

    i will of course be doing my own due diligence on the service folks. i've done some poking, but will do more proper research.

    i haven't brought it up with the dealer owner yet, though i have spoken with him already. we're months if not years away from it really mattering, but i will.

    excellent points about the engine being relatively straightforward to maintain. it's not an 8500 RPM wound-up high-strung neurotic mess.

    nearly fell off my chair, JaguarXJ6. very funny.

    excellent points on joyrides!

    300 large, doc? wow, these guys are smokin' some GOOD stuff! do they have manufacturing facilities in Jamaica!?!?!?

    doody!
     
  16. JaguarXJ6

    JaguarXJ6 F1 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2003
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    Mr. Doody, we're just looking out for ya! If you find a quality SVT dealership and take it there, hopefully there are some in your area, lurking on a Mustang or Lightning forum should turn up some positive reviews. Thankfully, you can find Ford and SVT dealers a lot easier then F-car ones!

    Nah, Jamaica is too far. There's some good stuff grown right out of our own Santa Paula here in CA. Or, uhhh so I hear. :D

    Sunny
     
  17. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    44,369
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    Actually, turning serious, I wouldn't worry about the service part. Most techs now-a-days are plug and play guys. Hook it up to the computer. Figure out the code, yank this, plug that, and away you go. I'm not putting these guys down, it's just the nature of the bidness, my man.

    Does this apply to Ferrari techs? To an extent, but Ferraris accross the board are much more complicated cars. This means that the average Ferrari tech has a lot more training. Plus, and I hope that Alan Lambo is not reading this, Ferraris are still kit cars. The production runs are so small that there is no way that everything can be fully sorted before a car is pushed out the door.

    To give just one analogy, several years ago I almost opened up a BMW motorcycle dealership. For a tech, BMW is serious stuff, in part because the typical customer knows more about the bike than the typical dealer. While searching for another Euro line to go with BMW, I talked to several Ducati dealers around the country. To a person, they loved the bike, but hated the company. Every dealer said that the bikes came only 90% assembled and the prep time was horrendous.

    Now, I'm not saying that Ferrari is this bad, but imagine preping an Enzo for the first time. Do I really need this level of compentence on my Mary-yellow? Probably not. Do I need to have a tech who works on Mr. Risi's race cars? Probably not. But am I willing to pay a premium anyway? You betcha.

    From what I have heard, though. There is nothing particularly high tech about the Ford GT. Back in the my day, you know, when hemis went into cars instead of trucks, we had a saying -- There's no subsitute for cubic inches. If it worked at Lemans, I think that it will work here.

    Me, I'm not worried. If I fit, and Napolis said that he'd work out a Gurney bubble if necessary :) I'm one gone Texan.

    Dr "Squinting Like Steve McQueen" Tax

    ps But I ain't paying twice sticker. Momma didn't raise no fool.
     
  18. Edward 96GTS

    Edward 96GTS F1 Rookie
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    Nov 1, 2003
    3,797
    When you take the car in for sevice, try giving the service writer and the assigned tech $50 each "to take good care". It usually works wonders.
     
  19. Peter

    Peter F1 Veteran
    Owner

    Dec 21, 2000
    6,387
    B.C., Canada
    I knew a guy (used to be a classmate and a friend) who worked part-time at a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth dealer. One day, a Viper pulls in for something. He takes it out for a spin... Didn't crash it, but did some stupid things with it (burnouts, 180's, etc...)

    Now, this story could be B.S. to show off (likely), or true. Either case, not a comforting thought.
     
  20. SRT Mike

    SRT Mike Two Time F1 World Champ

    Oct 31, 2003
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    Doody,

    Speaking from experience on Vipers, the dealership must have a tech "qualified" (taken Viper training) to work on the car. I believe only SVT dealers can sell and service Cobra Mustangs, so I would have to think their even-higher-end car will have at least that requirement, if not more. However that is no guarantee the other guys won't be allowed to "try out" your baby.

    I honestly don't think Ford is *that* much different from Ferrari though. Hear me out... the manufacturer pays the dealer based on the book time a repair is supposed to take. Usually the book time is dramatically lower than the time required to do an honest good job on the vehicle. So unless the tech is willing to take a lower salary, he's going to rush it. As with Ferrari, Lambo, or any car, you just need to find one GOOD tech who has pride in his work, and if you want to show your appreciation, tip the tech, knowing the service guy is going to get less $$$ for doing a GOOD job on your car. A dealer willing to work with you will likely understand your rules about not letting anyone drive the car, and will let you have a single point of contact (tech) at the dealer you trust. A good dealer will do this for you knowing that someone that can drop 200 large on a GT can probably buy 4 of any Ford product at the same time, and wants to keep you happy. They also like to have the high-end cars coming in for service - it does the same IMO that writing a book does for a consultant, makes you an authority on a subject.

    My .02

    Bottom line - find a good tech at a good dealer, let them know your requirements and expectations, work with them exclusively, and make it worth their time.
     
  21. TigerAce

    TigerAce Formula 3

    May 29, 2003
    1,793
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    Yoshi Ace
    Doody, I can understand your concern, and I would be, too.

    I have Excursion so I often visit the dealer for repair (under warranty), and their service depot is different from F car dealer or F car service mechanic.

    I never even thought about this, but what happens if a car got some minor damage like dings & scratch while it was there. There's no proof, of course, but as the owner of a car, you will probably notice.

    Can GT be bought at any Ford dealer? When I was looking for Viper few years ago, one Dodge dealer I visited told me that they don't get Viper, and I need to go to this different dealer to buy. So Ford may do the same for buying & service, too.

    Yoshi Ace
     
  22. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
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    Doody
    Just contacted VP of Ford's Service programms waiting on reply for you
     
  23. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
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    you rock, dude. eager to hear what they have to say.

    doody.
     
  24. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
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    Otto
    It'll cost you.... ;o)
     
  25. bobafett

    bobafett F1 Veteran

    Sep 28, 2002
    9,193
    Dr.T: 300k? Another dealer here asked me "if I was prepared to spend north of 300k for such a low production car?" I asked how many, he said only 2300. I, of course, said 2300 is a HUGE production run. Cmon, that's twice the number of Z8s out there. 4x the number of 360 CSs. Thank you for the offer, but I'll pass.

    It seems that most of these dealers are looking at "market value" and one dealer owner is keeping the car himself. My guess: these things will depreciate like Maranellos. Expect to find an '04 in Jan .05 for 75-85% value.

    I'm totally interested, just not holdin gmy breath. Doody, however, has even changed his avatar. (white over red? Cmn now! Blue baby, blue!).

    One silly idea that's spun off of Edward's post: give him a bill, cut it in half, tell him that he gets the other half when the service is over and you're satisfied.

    --Dan
     

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