As a promise and in fact animated by Mart http://oneomanandhismustang.com/ and his passion for his Ford Mustang 1966, a great and devoted project, I got in this mess, to write a blog about passion, team and a life journey. I’m using „mess” since I have no clue how this is gonna end and how many pages will be here for covering a story which had been happening along with many years of someone’s existence.
The first touch with a Ford brand came in 2002 when my boss asked me to leave the office for an outside job! Huh? „Listen go and change and be ready to accompany the boys, we are having an exhibit though not enough cars, just go and put some colours on the spot”. I know nothing about cars… From selling sheets to hostess? I got blank. However, I was ready to hit the road. The boss, I mean the former boss owns a holding with many fields, many companies and of course many employees. Then why me?
Being a hostess means not only to smile and say hello to strangers since they gonna ask you about power, consume, which is that what is this and so on. I grabbed some info from my buddies and ready to conform and confirm that „I can do this”. Spending two days between boys and cars was something. I’ve learned Ford Mondeo, Focus and Transit for passengers. Do not ask me how much we sold, though we signed a contract and gave good info about our location as a dealer and showroom, financial and technical opinions, everything for the future sales. After all, this is one of the main purpose of an auto show do not ever expect to sell everything. Get as many new contacts you can hold and harass them after, as they became the suspects for buying a new car. For Romania 2002 wasn’t a boom for auto branch, we were doing pretty well with selling steel’s sheets, we could ship wagons in one single day.
Same year, different gang and different occasion as I was attending some courses to a post-university and I had to be done with a written report for Advertising and Publicity’s class. And then I picked Mr. Henry Ford and his brand. Henry Ford was probably the first grand industrialist who used and applied intensely two concepts of public relations. He was very open with the journalists and he understood the rewards of positioning a new brand on a market.
Two years later, I was working for same person with doing same sellings: tubes and sheets when he required me to take care of Ford department by promoting his dealership. For few months I was doing both jobs, later I found myself also selling cars. Not too late willing to punish the boys who were very unorganised by dueling for customers, he asked me to set things straight. We behaved good and gained many customers. Do not think all great things had been happening since I was there. No, it was an adequate state of economic prosperity. Though we did not manage to sell any Mustang or Ford Ka in a town of a medium size. These models… bother me even now. Ford Ka which belongs to a small class was more expensive than a Ford Fiesta, same class though with more space and of course different body . I have no clue why the difference though they have same engine, perhaps because of Kelly Minoque who was the international image of it!? About Ford Mustang, maybe there were to many horsepower for a provincial? Or because we never had that car for a test drive? Anyway we had the best time working with this brand as a seller (courses, seminars, parties, expos, high top meetings, press conferences, off-roads training) but we also had tough times when we sold cars based on a picture or we had to deal with a discontent customer. We learned from good or less good situations. We did pretty well and became a great selling team.
Now I’m in November 2005. What can you guess? One day the boss called for me „ you should go in service…” I mean not me as a person who needs something to get fixed, this how we call the maintenance or the repair’s department for cars. Seriously? He is kidding!? I said a big NO, I’m not going! I honestly have no technical skills nor info. I mean one is to speak about ABS, EBD, ESP, TDCi so on to a potential client and other is to work with them. He goes like „well just have a look and see how things are”.
I’m not a spy though. However, I went to say “hi” to others colleagues. What I found there, a choleric mate who was trying to quit the job but was no one to replace him. He was doing a little and a lot of everything. Delivery and purchasing parts, finding parts in a special program, bills, orders, all as a receptionist… Name that pity or humanitarianism, I chose to let him go. Then the dance began. I knew nothing and I learned a lot thanks to my four brave men and to other special human beings from Ford Network who gave me all their support. The maintenance team had a small number, five. We only had a 4 working spots (two elevators , a hole for Ford Transits and Rangers and somehow a place for the guy skilled in electronics).
Things were very tough in that department. Not because I was a woman among parts and grease just because the lack of parts and the financial impossibility to order them. Do not get me wrong there were money thus the owner did not want to invest anymore. The reason…, is coming. And how is that to have a car in service and you find out you really don’t have all filters: air, pollen, oil or combustible? And this is nothing. After the booming sells as a result, cars come for maintenance be that for a routine oil change or just because the customer is hearing noises be it from a bearing or a shock-absorber or just a plastic unfixed. To the great surprise, we as a dealer we had not the licence and the right to repair cars in warranty. This could be given by the importer Ford in Romania only if a dealer respects some standards (special tools, enough space, a tester so on) but not for us. If I’m not wrong in that time a new car with all revisions in time (not more than a year and no more 15.00 km between revisions) could go 4 years of warranty without any kilometres’ restriction. Improperly saying without any limit, things aren’t so white as we think however we are humans after all and speak same language. There are many solutions and fictional arguments to avoid things or escape from responsibility.