On Wednesday our postman reported liquid dripping from the underside of our 2016 Ford Ranger 3.2. The AA was called by Ford Assist, the AA patrol man confirmed a water leak and arranged a flat bed to take the Ford Ranger 3.2 Limited Edition (2016) to Think Ford Farnborough Hampshire GU14 7QW. Enterprise Rent a Car from Grayswood Haslemere delivered a Ford Focus loan car efficiently within 90 minutes. The loan car was a part of the deal when we purchased the Ford Ranger if it ever broke down. I explained a Ford Focus wouldn't be able to do the work my 3.2 Ranger does towing 3,500kgs hire generators and refrigerated trailers to events. I was told by Dave not to worry, if Think Ford can't fix the broken down Ranger 3.2 Wilktrak by close tomorrow, Think Ford should call us with an order number and we will supply/organise a 'like for like' replacement.
The following day I called Think Ford, the lady who was at the end of their telephone hunt group couldn't put me through to service because "we only have one person in service, he is busy because we are short staffed". Finally a chap called Steve called back to say a water hose had failed which I already knew, "it was the worst one in the engine bay and difficult to see, let alone get too". which I already knew. The AA guy and I had a combined circa 60 years experience in mechanics, diagnosing a leaking hose wasn't difficult. Steve at Think Ford said a hose was to be ordered. No mention of any impending delays.
The motor industry operate a VOR service (Vehicle Off Road) parts can be delivered from Ford to the Dealer the next day. After giving Think Ford an extra day to fit the hose we called Think Ford to find out when the Ranger would be ready for collection. Steve said he thought he called us to say the water hose was not available, he didn't, obviously lacking in CRM. Further, the hose was on back order i.e. no available stock. Not to worry I'll take the replacement Ford Ranger that I was told would be supplied if mine couldn't be fixed. Oh no you won't said Think Ford we are not authorising that. After three hours of telephone work backwards and forwards between Think Ford, Ford Customers services, and Ford Replacements Cars, we are then told the Ford Focus was being revoked with immediate effect after a marathon 3 hour plea for help. It's now 17.54hrs on a Friday night, I have to wait and hour for Enterprise Rent a Car to collect the Ford Focus or risk losing my £500 damage deposit if I leave it in a car park, and then walk home !
During the telephone ping pong between Ford, Think Ford, Enterprise Rent a Car and Ford Replacements Cars I explained that we have to support up to 43 of our road tow generators, fridge trailers, trailer loos, box trailers, fish and chip train trams, and hog roast chefs who were all going out to events on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Many thousands of people are relying on us and our Ford Ranger 3.2 to get trailers and vans in and out of events as and when they get stuck either on wet grass or grass subsequently turned to mud.
My son Max has 700 people to feed for his corporate client Dulux on Saturday. Max has to tow in our 2,500kgs Brenderup trailer full of catering equipment into a field. It's looking as if Max has got to take his Citroen Relay fridge van, let's hope the ground stays firm and dry. There are several other events that require a 4x4 this weekend. We have to tow 500L and 950L fuel bowsers into events to refuel generators powering weddings, event kitchens, trailer loos, etc. Steve (Think Ford) explained that having a replacement Ford Ranger from them wouldn't help me as none of Think Ford's Rangers had tow bars fitted, most strange ?
I then called Ford Customer Services and spoke to a lady called Vivian who sounded as if she might not have been in the UK and therefore had no knowledge that the heavens were about to open in the South of England which normally means problems towing our generators, fridge trailers, trailer loo and catering units into situ next to marquees in wet grass fields. Getting those trailers out after the even is more difficult.
Contingency plan swings into action - Agreement in place for local Retro Drift Challenge Driver Harry Stuart and Towing Business Stuart's Towing Services to assist in case of emergency, we also sponsor Harry Stuart. Harry went on standby to assist with towing in our units into events with his fleet of vehicles. I heard that Harry was getting an Isuzu D-Max which could support us along with his Mercedes Sprinter and other vehicles. After speaking with Harry I checked with Think Ford when the new hose would be in stock and fitted only to be told Ford now have it, might arrive Saturday, if not, no delivery Monday, probably Wednesday, maybe finished Thursday. 8 days for a water hose, very poor service.
Summary - Ford Ranger 3.2 Limited Edition with water leak from engine hose, under 12 months old, 8 days to repair, no replacement vehicle, poor service, unreliable. Will be replacing the Ford Ranger 3.2 and two existing Toyota Landcruisers with three Isuzu D-Maxs to add to our fleet of twelve Mercedes Sprinters.
When we arrive at events contractors ask me how I get on with a Ford Ranger 3.2, now I can let everone in the events business know in full detail. Clearly the final straw in this fiasco was that Think Ford arranged by default for my tiny Ford Focus to be revoked leaving me no imediate transport at 19.00hrs on a Friday night. Abandoned by the roadside.
When business is going to tuff over the next few years I'm surprised that Think Ford are happy to lose a customer that runs a small fleet of 4x4's, seems very short sighted to me.