Bartz posts regularly on Reddit, Facebook and YouTube, including frequent livestreaming where he provides new information to customers, whether they have orders with Long McArthur or not, and takes questions from across the country.
“I’m not doing it just to get sales,” Bartz said. “I take probably five phone calls a day from people who have already ordered with another dealer who is not calling them back. I’ve had some who have said they’d rather switch their order to me.”
One of the chat comments from a follower on a recent Bartz YouTube livestream was this: “Can’t wait to order my Maverick with you guys. I’ve had it with the dealers here in central California.”
Bartz said some dealers had underestimated customer interest in the Maverick and were more focused on other hot Ford products, such as the considerably more expensive Bronco. Navigating the ordering process for the Maverick — in addition to the other new products — requires some extra work, he said.
“One reason I wanted to get some videos out there was because a lot of people were confused about the process,” he said. “A lot of customers were putting in a reservation and weren’t hearing anything from their dealers.”
Because of the inventory complications stemming from the semiconductor shortage, transparency is a key issue now, he said. He is upfront that free shipping comes only when the vehicle is financed with Long McArthur, explaining that the dealership can use some of the money it gets from arranging the financing to cover the shipping costs. The dealership also has relationships with Ford dealers in other states that will receive a vehicle from the factory and deliver it to a Long McArthur buyer.
In late August, Bartz told his YouTube followers that Ford is looking to keep inventory at around the 45-day level going forward to reduce costs and increase efficiency. That will mean more custom builds in the future and less stock builds.
Having customers make reservations also serves as a way for the manufacturer to measure consumer interest — a key concern as Ford launches a host of new electric vehicles.
Ford’s first mainstream EV, the Mustang Mach-E, was a test case last year.
“Ford’s intention with the Mach-E was to kind of mimic what Tesla was doing, in terms of reserving them and building them per order,” Bartz said. “That worked so well for Ford that they went ahead and did that when they launched the Bronco as well.” Ford makes both the compact Bronco Sport and the big Bronco SUV.