Dear Ford Executives,
I have owned many Fords over the years and recently traded my 2013 Ford Taurus in for a 2015 Fusion. I always buy used cars as I can never justify buying a new car. When I bought the Fusion I knew it only had one key fob. I thought no big deal. How much could it cost? Well then I priced a new key fob and it was $200 and the dealer charges $100 to program it. That is $300 for an extra key. I also have to have two keys to program a third key myself as a “Security feature”. Oddly my insurance company doesn’t give me a price break for this added security so who is it really helping? But back to the main issue. The key fob in question is fairly basic and had a blade key. I can buy new ones like it off eBay for $30. Of course they don’t apparently have the Ford custom chip in them I am assuming as I tried one and the dealer could not get it to work. I work in the semiconductor business. My company builds the equipment to test the semiconductor chips including all the ones that go into your vehicles. I am an electrical engineer and know from my customer’s and my hardware design experience roughly how much it cost to make the electronics that go into the key fob. Based on my knowledge and the fact that the fobs are likely made in China or Mexico by a third party my guess is the cost to Ford for one of these fobs is $10 to $20 and I may be guess high here. So assuming that it the case you are charging a customer $200 for a part that may cost you $20. That is a 10X markup to the customer or 1000% markup. So I want you as executives to stop for a moment and think about that. I know there is engineering cost to pay for in the development on the key fob but your company is charging a customer 1000% markup for key! For a person making minimum wage by the time they pay the dealer to program it that is about 36 hours of work for them or almost a whole week pay for a key!! Ford wants a whole weeks paid from a minimum wage worker for a key! That is inconceivable and unconscionable in my opinion and is beyond gouging and if a customer only has one key and loses it they are basically paying a ransom to Ford be able to use their car again. Because they have to buy TWO OF THEM as even the dealer cannot just program a single key! I know of no other business that can make 1000% markup for a physically item they sell. Fortunately I make more than minimum wage but this still made me swallow hard to write a $300 check for a key. If I had lost the only key I had it would have cost me $600 because I would have had to buy two just to get one working key. I know you can justify this in your minds by saying to yourselves that all the other car company’s do this so we are aligned with the industry. How about being a LEADER in the industry and making reason mark ups on your spare parts and not gouging customers. You want to sell more cars? Make the cost of ownership the lowest in the industry and see how many people start buying Fords. People buy Toyotas and Hondas because they “don’t break”. I think Ford has come a long way in catching up to Toyota and Honda but imagine if a Toyota and Ford owner are talking and both bragging about how reliable their 8 year old Camry and Fusions are and then one mentions they lost a key and other says yeah I lost one once too. The Toyota owner says it cost me $300 to replace it! Now what if the Ford owner could say it only cost me $50 and it has the best security available at the time. That is what will start winning the game for Ford. I am writing this as I feel very angry about this because I know I am being completely ripped off. It’s not a good feeling.