Ford Launches New Dealer Training Program With A.I. Integration


ford launches new dealer training program with a i integration

Ford has announced its new dealership training platform for the United States, noting that it will utilize artificial intelligence to better familiarize sales teams with product knowledge, corporate history, while likewise making them better at engaging with customers.

Entitled “Ford University,” the program has been under development for roughly a year and looks to be composed of instructional videos that can be accessed over the internet.

From Ford:

It features a personalized, data-driven dashboard for each dealer employee, gamified learning experiences, 24/7 on-demand AI-supported virtual coaching, and a cinematic-style content library produced by award-winning producers and creatives who have spent all or portions of their careers creating popular television shows and feature films across major networks and streaming services. 

We’re rolling out Ford University to Ford dealers across the United States starting May 1, with plans to expand further. This platform represents our commitment to providing customers with the even more knowledgeable and skilled dealers, enhancing the value of every customer experience. I’m excited for the positive changes Ford University will bring to our customers and dealers alike. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Blue Oval appears to be leveraging all the latest trends with this one. Gamification has long been a tactic used by casinos and video game publishers to maximize interaction times. But it has gradually been seeping into other industries. We’ve even seen automakers toying with the concept as a way to encourage drivers to routinely interface with infotainment systems.

But the “cinematic-style content library” just sounds like it’s going to be a bunch of video clips with above-average production values. While the impulse may be to mock this, if the extra effort encourages dealers to stay more engaged than they otherwise would have, it is probably worth the time and effort required to pull everything together. Dealership experiences vary between brands and it’s always better when you’re dealing with someone that’s informed, especially if you’re likewise the kind of person who goes into buying a car having done some research in advance.

Videos are supposed to include everything from dry technical items and vehicle features to how to interact with customers and ensure one is representing the brand in a favorable light.

However, it’s the artificial intelligence that’s probably the most interesting aspect of Ford University. Here, salespeople will be asked to submit videos of themselves simulating how they would speak to a customer. The video is then graded by A.I. and will be keeping track of the dealer’s tone, whether they are speaking with confidence, and if they are comparing Ford products in a favorable light vs other brands. Ford said the system was powered by Microsoft Copilot and GPT. It likewise will have access to the relevant training data, including how each store scores on the tests. But it has said that there is currently no plan to punish or reward dealerships based on those results.

The stated goal will be to lift all showrooms using the training, regardless of their performance. However, the resulting data may be used to manage which subjects are focused on in future training programs while providing Ford with insight on any topics storefronts might be struggling with. Our guess is that’s all subject to change further down the line, as the company just launched the program.

Dealerships will have access today with the focus being on dealership employees working beyond vehicle servicing and repairs. However, the manufacturer has said it would like to add courses that cater to more technical employees later this year.

[Image: Ford]

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