The Ford brand is coming into focus — make that Focus — globally, with the imminent launch of the Ford Focus globally.
For the most accomplished global automotive brand of the last two years, Ford has been lying a bit low lately. Expect that to change beginning Tuesday, however, when Ford introduces its crucial new Focus subcompact in the US with TV ads on American Idol.
Ford brand marketers met with journalist this week in New York to talk up the fact that the 2012 Focus is the company’s first truly global car.
With one million units rolling out this year, a global manufacturing platform saves Ford a ton of money for this vehicle. Ditto with the global marketing campaign, which will show national differentiation mainly in its digital elements and TV commercial voiceovers, while reinforcing the "One Ford" messaging.
But the real story of Focus will be its fantastic timing. With $100-a-barrel oil likely to stick around for a while, and $4-a-gallon gasoline coming down the pike, what better time for Ford to be debuting the new flagship of its small-car lineup that notches 40 miles a gallon on the highway? Two years ago, the last time we had $4-a-gallon gasoline, Ford was just introducing its new F-150 pickup-truck series.
More than just a fuel sipper, however, Focus probably will be well-received because it also displays a bounty of technological features that will interest a broad range of consumers. And if there is one thing Americans have indicated lately, it’s that they may be willing to opt for smaller vehicles for the sake of fuel economy — but they also want those vehicles to be “loaded” with features once preserved only for larger vehicles.
Ford will get a lot of mileage out of the technology that makes the 2012 Focus fuel-efficient, features such as “active park assist” which uses sonar to help park the car, a start-stop function that stops the engine at traffic lights, and Wi-Fi hot-spot capability (played up in its commercials, below). Its Sync smartcar system will be launching in Europe with the 2012 Focus, as global marketing VP Jim Farley notes above.
Car buyers will have to pay up to $27,000 to get everything that the new Focus has to offer. And while they’re pinching pennies on gas prices, they can be riding in relative style.
The TV campaign highlights specific tech features such as "Active Park Assist," which Farley describes as a "killer spec" — it uses sonar to park the car for the driver, who only needs to keep a foot on the brake pedal:
This spot highlights the Focus body design, both in terms of aerodynamics and fuel efficiency and sheer aesthetics:
This spot highlights the active grille shutters that open and close to boost fuel efficiency:
An additional TV commercial highlights the model's start-stop functionality, which automatically shuts down the engine and conserves fuel.
The commercials above launch in the US and Europe starting next week, to be followed by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and Asia, and (next year) China and South America.
The Focus has already been building buzz on social and digital media, including highlighting the Focus Rally driver competition at Super Bowl XLV.
As part of its pre-launch marketing, Ford also staged a Focus Global Test Drive, inviting bloggers and other social media influencers such as iJustine to test drive the new Focus.
Here's more from the Ford Focus press event this week in New York, with WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell: