DEARBORN, Michigan — Many Ford dealers in the U.S., including Galpin Ford in California and Village Ford in Michigan, are getting ready for the launch of the 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck by installing interactive product-information kiosks in their showrooms.
The kiosks, part of a "Truth About Trucks" initiative at the dealership level, are being installed this week. They will be located in 1,900 Ford showrooms nationwide.
Consumers will be able to do a "high-level configuration" with the iPad-like kiosks, Ford F-150 Truck Marketing Manager Eric Peterson told Edmunds on Thursday.
"The kiosks will allow a customer to drive the experience," he said. "If you have time in between service appointments, you can dig into the truck. You can guide your own experience and learn about what you are interested in."
But Peterson said the kiosks are also "a great asset for a sales consultant" to help explain all of the details on the redesigned truck. In addition, they can be updated more frequently than posters and brochures.
The kiosks are mobile and can be taken to community events.
Peterson said a customer will not be able to actually buy or lease a truck using the kiosk, but that consumers can do comparisons with competitive vehicles and then e-mail the information to themselves.
At this point, the kiosks will only contain information about the F-150, not other popular vehicles, including the 2015 Ford Mustang.
The 2015 F-150 began shipping to dealers in late November.
Ford is just wrapping up its 38-city "The Future of Tough" consumer and sales consultant drive program of the F-150. The program is being held in Phoenix, Dallas, Baton Rouge and Orlando this week. Many Ford dealerships celebrated the drive program by holding a special "preview night" for the truck.
"We've held well over 20,000 test-drives before the truck even gets into showrooms," Peterson said.
Dealership sales consultants were immersed in the "Built Ford Tough Roundup" as well. This initiative included a 45-minute session in a "materials lab" where consultants received training about the benefits of the "military-grade aluminum alloy" features of the new F-150, Peterson said.
"They studied door frames, compared aluminum versus steel," he said. "Our sales consultants are prepared to answer questions that people will have about the product."
Edmunds says: Some Ford dealers are so sold on the merits of these interactive F-150 kiosks that they've set up two in their showrooms. Truck shoppers should check them out.