It has been announced that Ford will close almost half of it’s 400 UK franchised dealerships as part of a ‘Ford 2025 dealer plan’.

160 – 180 dealerships will be closed, which Ford said had been formed “in a spirit of partnership” with dealers and their investors to build a “stronger and more sustainably profitable Ford sales and servicing network for the future in the UK”.

This is the largest cull of UK car retail sites to date.

Ford said that its dealer network and Ford of Britain national sales company had undergone restructuring over the past two decades but added that “dealer network profitability is still not sustainable”.

Ford of Britain Chairman and Managing Director, Andy Barratt, said the 2025 plan would aim to bring the network’s franchisees up from a 2019 return on sales (RoS) figure of 1% to 1.5%, with its top quartile earning 2% with the help of greater commercial vehicle (CV) sales.

They also said they would become a more target business focussing on new automotive trends including electrification, connectivity, car-sharing and online sales.

Its statement said: “We are working together in a spirit of partnership with our dealers and their investors to build a stronger and more sustainably profitable Ford sales and servicing network for the future in the UK, which works for the mutual benefit of our businesses and for our commercial and passenger vehicle customers. We currently have around 400 vehicle selling points in the UK Our goal is to create a network of around 210 to 230 sales sites over the next five years. Customers will not be unduly inconvenienced when buying a new vehicle; there will continue to be a Ford selling site within easy reach for the majority of our customers, with around 90% of the population within a 30-minute drive of a Ford sales point. Many of the existing smaller sales sites will be converted into vehicle servicing centres to further improve our customer service capability.”