Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2013 11:36 AM
Ford has learned a lot about social media marketing since launching the Fiesta Movement with 100 bloggers in 2009. Now the brand is applying all of that to its latest social iteration, "The Rider Challenge," an online reality-competition show that Ford is sponsoring with Live Nation Entertainment to help launch the 2014 Fiesta subcompact.
This time, though, Ford is asking its new crop of 100 bloggers and other "agents" to glean more insights from actual Ford customers and other consumers about the new Fiesta and then echo some of those throughout the bloggers' own sites.
"We're getting insights from agents' fans and followers, verbatims about what [consumers] think of Ford and the Fiesta—people who have actually raised their hands with interest in the car," Crystal Worthem, manager of band content and alliances for Ford, told brandchannel. "We'll be able to measure sales matches on them as well."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 23, 2013 11:34 AM
Ford's emphasis on social media marketing for its Fiesta subcompact is paying off in a somewhat surprising way: The brand was able to declare this week that Ford has enjoyed the fastest retail-sales growth of any auto brand in the US among the highly sought but stubborn Millennial demographic over the last four years.
Ditto in a sense for Chevrolet which, while without making claims versus the competition, noted that it continues to gain share of Millennial buyers with its own small cars, including not only the Sonic competitor to Fiesta but also the larger Chevrolet Cruze and even smaller Chevy Spark.
Ford posted a whopping 80 percent increase in sales among shoppers ages 18 through 34 in the first half of this year compared with the first half of 2009, according to R.L. Polk registration data, while the industry overall increased by only 35 percent.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 7, 2013 01:37 PM
Every automaker is formulating its own answer for success in the most competitive segment in the global automotive business: small cars. They're constantly tinkering with styling, pricing, interior refinements, financing programs and marketing as the number of vehicles in the category continue to proliferate.
But Toyota, seeking to extend the recent rebuilding of its mojo, just wants to blow the competition away with a fresh entry that is formidably better than its old entry. That car, Toyota says, is the newly redesigned and completely rethought Corolla, which over its nearly half-century in the market has compiled nearly 40 million sales worldwide and has become the globe's best-selling nameplate.
"The 11th-generation Corolla is a dramatically styled, sleeker, more dynamic Corolla that will change consumer perceptions of the iconic compact," Toyota blared matter-of-factly in a news release. The 2014 Corolla "will elevate the consumer's experience for the world's most popular sedan with modern, expressive styling, a more premium interior experience, improved fuel economy and performance, and a strong menu of available features."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 4, 2013 03:38 PM
Just as the conventional wisdom in the auto industry used to be that Toyota's quality always would be unparalleled, the thought has been that Ford would never catch General Motors in US sales volume.
But these days, just as Toyota's grip on the quality crown is being threatened by some other auto makers, Ford has come within a whisper of beating GM in sales. In May, on the strength of a 14 percent year-over-year sales gain, Ford came within 6,000 units of besting its long-time larger rival in US sales, as GM posted just a 3 percent relative gain.
"It's not necessarily saying that GM's performance was bad, becasue it wasn't," said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for Edmuncs.com, according to The New York Times. "It was just that Ford was better. Ford has a balance in their portfolio, while GM is a little more hit or miss."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 17, 2013 07:30 PM
Ford is facing a lawsuit that threatens to tarnish the carefully nurtured image of its EcoBoost engines as a way to get big improvements in fuel efficiency without giving up driving performance.
Some Ford owners in Ohio alleged in a suit filed in federal court in Columbus that Ford vehicles containing the 3.5-liter, V6 EcoBoost engine are "subject to sudden shuddering, shaking, rapid loss of power, and inappropriate transition to limp mode." The allegations echo complaints that Ford addressed last year in a non-public bulletin to dealers and by making changes on its engine assembly line.
At the same time, there are more reports from reviewers who maintain that EcoBoost engines don't deliver their promised fuel efficiency in real-world driving performance.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 15, 2013 05:33 PM
Even before it's clear whether Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla actually wears the crown of the world's best-selling car, Ford is wasting no time in pivoting into its new "And Not Or" advertising campaign in the US, while Toyota is gamely trying to get ahead of a huge recall of airbags in its vehicles, which also have affected four other brands—but not Ford.
In fact, Focus is the—er, focus—of one of the first three TV ads in Ford's new marketing campaign, which begin airing April 16 on various programs on the big three broadcast networks and were first shared exclusively with brandchannel.
In the Focus spot, consumers are shown what it would be like to have to choose "sweet or sour" chicken and reminded to be grateful that it's sweet and sour—and that Focus doesn't make them choose between good fuel economy and the convenience of voice-activated Sync infotainment. Likewise, consumers are spared from having to stay at "bed or breakfast" spots, just as the Ford Escape allows them both fuel economy and the convenience of a foot-activated rear liftgate; and Ford Explorer provides great mileage as well as seven-passenger seating, similar to a wet and wild tourist attraction.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 9, 2013 05:37 PM
A series of bedrock presumptions has dominated successive eras of the US auto industry. The first one was that the domestic Big Three would be on top forever. A second and more recent "truth" was that Japanese imports were unbeatable.
Now, a third truth that has been part of the presumed backdrop of the industry for nearly a generation may be set to fall this year. That's because Toyota Camry and Honda Accord no longer are shoe-ins to be the best-selling mid-size cars in America for 2013.
They long have reigned; Camry has been America's best-selling car for 11 consecutive years, having taken over around the turn of the century from the Ford Taurus. The Honda Accord, through its various generations, typically was right on the heels of Camry, sales volume-wise. Other mid-size entries didn't stand a chance of matching them.
In the meantime, there's one sales title that none of the four mid-size sedans can aspire to: world's best-selling car. In 2012, Ford claimed that crown with various versions of its Focus, which easily beat out versions of the Toyota Corolla for the No. 1 spot. Ford executives have promised that the Focus would be a global nameplate, and they've made it one—the biggest one. Adding to that accolade, the Ford Fiesta is now the world's best-selling sub-compact.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2012 12:53 PM
Just in case things get dicey once Mark Fields, Ford's presumptive next CEO, takes the reigns, Ford's board reportedly is considering keeping current CEO Alan Mulally around past his retirement as the non-executive chairman.
As skilled as is Fields, the 51-year-old head of Ford's Americas operations, you can't blame Ford's directors for not wanting to let Mulally go completely once he ends his tenure as CEO, with a rumored target for departure around the end of next year. The 67-year-old former chief of Boeing has worked wonders at the auto manufacturer since he took the helm in 2006, seeing it through the global financial collapse and Great Recession without a U.S.-government bailout, supervising the launch of a fleet of worthy new products, and guiding Ford into leadership positions in infotainment technology and fuel economy.
And though Fields may be champing at the bit, Mulally is hardly ready to ride into the sunset just yet. He's got Ford moving on a number of important ongoing and new initiatives. They include:Continue reading...