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 |  Jul 20 2011, 12:00 PM

After 11 years of irrelevance, Ford silently buries its “Blue Oval Certified” program for dealers—to the surprise of absolutely no one.

The certified dealer program aimed to reward good Ford dealers for customer service; dealers spent thousands following guidelines from Ford and J.D. Power & Associates on how to achieve and maintain their certified status. And for many dealers, the payoff was worth it: some dealers received checks of up to $70,000 per month, as well as increased business.

But the payoffs ended 5 years ago, among with many other perks. Eventually, the only thing that dealers could reward themselves with were employee discounts—of which dealer employees already received in the first place. Customers didn’t know or care about the program, and neither did the dealers themselves, many of whom had stopped spending money on staying certified.

Ford even suggested that ending the Blue Oval program “isn’t a big deal.” But the end of a program that rewards dealers for being nice to their customers seems like a step back.

[Source: Automotive News]