Ford is to place renewed emphasis on customer satisfaction and retention to build on market gains of recent years, says Ford Southern Africa MD Casper Kruger. The US-owned company doubled local market share during the seven-year tenure of Kruger’s predecessor, Jeff Nemeth. This owed much to Ford fulfilling the old motor industry mantra of providing "the right product at the right price at the right time". However, Kruger says this improvement is not sustainable unless the company does more to identify and meet the needs of customers — both private and corporate. This year’s Kuga difficulties, in which engines of the sports utility vehicle (SUV) caught fire, underlined how quickly brand sentiment can turn. While the damage to overall Ford sales has been much lighter than predicted, Kruger says there are lessons to be learnt.The most important is that customers must never be taken for granted. That is why Kruger, who succeeded Nemeth on April 1, says much of his attention will be focu...

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