Ford Encourages Dealers To Go Green, Offers To Tell Them How (For A Fee)

February 15, 2010
2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Like a lot of corporations, Ford Motor Company understands the value of going green, and the automaker is now encouraging its dealers to get onboard with energy conservation, too. The push comes via Ford's ‘Go Green’ Dealership Sustainability Program, which was unveiled over the weekend at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Orlando, Florida. Although Ford isn't requiring its dealers to become more energy efficient, the company insists that dealers will see significant longterm benefits from doing so.

Of course, facility upgrades don't come cheap,  and Ford estimates that improvements to appliances, insulation, and power systems could run between $100,000 and $800,000 per dealer, depending on size, location, and other factors. However, the automaker insists that on average, dealers can recoup those costs within three years. Ford, in partnership with efficiency experts from the Rocky Mountain Institute, has graciously offered to act as a consultant to dealers and walk them through the improvement process -- for a fee.

There is, of course, another reason that Ford dealers should consider going green: in addition to the energy savings, businesses often earn invaluable PR from their eco-friendly actions. That's not to say that Ford's concern for the environment is disingenuous: vehicles like the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid (recently named the 2010 North American Car of the Year) and the upcoming Ford Fiesta show that the automaker can definitely be eco-conscious when it wants to be. But just to be safe -- and to avoid a backlash from environmentalists like the one that "clean coal" advocates have seen -- Ford and its dealers need to put their money where their mouths are. And sending out a few more press releases like this one wouldn't hurt either:

FORD ANNOUNCES DEALER SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAM 

  • Ford Motor Company is launching a voluntary sustainability initiative for Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers to reduce their carbon footprint and improve the energy-efficiency of their dealerships
  • Ford has partnered with Rocky Mountain Institute, a leading energy-efficiency organization to pilot new technologies and architectural design principles, at three dealerships in diverse climates
  • The ‘Go Green’ dealer sustainability initiative is fully integrated into the company’s existing architecture to provide dealers with the ability to improve energy efficiency and lower operating costs

ORLANDO, Feb. 14, 2010 – Ford Motor Company’s commitment to contributing to a better world further expands today with the announcement of the ‘Go Green’ Dealership Sustainability Program. The program is being shared with the company’s U.S. Ford and LincolnMercury dealers today at the 2010 National Automobile Dealers Association Convention.

The goal of the program is simple: Collaborate with dealers to implement cost-effective ways to improve the energy-efficiency of their facilities, resulting in a long-term reduction in individual dealership’s carbon footprint as well as overall operating costs. Participation in the ‘Go Green’ Dealership Sustainability Program is voluntary for dealers.

“In keeping with Ford’s commitment to the environment, this program is a great fit for our dealers because it provides a variety of energy-efficient improvement options regardless of the current age and design of the facility,” says Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “This allows all dealers the opportunity to participate in improving the energy efficiency of their facility and gives them flexibility in making choices that are right for them and their dealership.”

Ford has partnered with Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), an organization recognized as a leader in providing energy-efficiency solutions to businesses, communities and organizations around the world.

“We applaud Ford for their ongoing energy-efficiency efforts around the world,” said Amory B. Lovins, Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute. “This initiative will have a positive impact participating dealers decrease their consumption of energy. Implementing these cost-effective solutions will also improve dealer’s bottom line over the long-term.”

Getting Started

Dealers interested in participating in the ‘Go Green’ Dealership Sustainability Program will first receive a comprehensive energy assessment from sustainability experts at Ford. After the thorough assessment is completed, Ford and the dealer will collaborate on energy-saving options available and will tailor a program to meet the needs of the dealer. Solutions are wide-ranging and can be implemented for dealers with existing facilities as well as dealers who are constructing new facilities.

Dealers who participate in the program will be able to take advantage of several benefits, including guidance on available State and Federal tax credits and incentives, as well as access to technical expertise and resources to assist with selection of energy-efficient products and equipment.

Ford is finalizing details to initiate a pilot program with three dealers located in Florida, New York and Nevada.

“Through this initiative we are making available to dealers the same techniques, principles and expertise we use to reduce our energy use and contribute to a better world,” said Cischke.

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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 198,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

About RMI
Rocky Mountain Institute® (RMI®) is an independent, entrepreneurial, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. RMI drives the efficient and restorative use of resources to make the world secure, just, prosperous, and life-sustaining. RMI's research and consulting staff works with businesses, communities, and organizations around the world by incorporating a unique blend of whole-system thinking, integrative design, end-use/least-cost analysis and an interdisciplinary knowledge of advanced technologies and techniques. For more information, visit www.rmi.org.

[Ford, AutoNews]

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