Posted by Dale Buss on March 15, 2011 04:00 PM
If you don’t have the hardware, you can always tout the software.
That is Ford’s approach so far with electric vehicles. The company — ahead in so many other emerging areas of automotive technology — is way behind Nissan and General Motors in fielding a vehicle that is all (or almost) completely powered by batteries. Focus Electric won’t debut until later this year, which will be about a year following the debut of the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.
So to paper over the gap, Ford is playing to its demonstrated strengths in social-media marketing. It's taking a page from its Fiesta Movement campaign, leveraging interest for the model in the year ahead of its introduction with a social campaign to create viral buzz.
To that end, it has set up an Electric Vehicles Facebook page with a new program, called “Take Charge,” designed to facilitate online conversations about EVs, the environment and so on.
Smart move for Ford, since it can’t yet brag about availability of an actual electric vehicle. In shades of selling the sizzle, not the stake, establishing its EV-ness online also allows the brand to better understand and engage consumers who might be interested in Focus Electric once it actually becomes available.
Then Ford will really have something to talk about.