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Ford C-Max Energi Gets 108 MPG Rating – But Will Buyers Notice?

Ford hopes higher mileage numbers will carve into Toyota's battery-car dominance.

by on Oct.12, 2012

Ford gets a critical endorsement from the EPA that could help it target the Toyota hybrid family.

Ford has been taking aggressive aim at Toyota this year and borrowing a page from the Japanese giant’s playbook in the process, focusing not only on new battery-powered models like the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max but also by bragging that some of Ford’s newest offerings deliver better mileage than the Toyota alternatives?

The latest salvo follows the EPA’s official assessment of the Ford C-Max Energi, the plug-in version of the new “people mover.” Despite being the size of the larger Prius V, the EPA has rated the C-Max Energi at 108 miles per gallon in city driving and 100 in the highway and combined measurements.  That’s 5 mpg better than the smaller Toyota Prius Plug-in, a version of the original member of the new Prius “family.”

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But will potential buyers care?

So far, Ford has had only modest success in the battery-electric market.  While Toyota currently produces about half of all battery-based models sold in the U.S., Ford’s market share has slipped by more than half over the last year to barely 4%.


Ford’s Secret Weapon: Coffee (and Ryan Seacrest)

Maker engaging in “Random Acts of Fusion.”

by on Jul.18, 2012

Can Ryan Seacrest and a free cup of coffee help sell the new Ford Fusion?

In an increasingly crowded midsize segment, Ford Motor Co. has come up with a secret weapon to help launch the 2013 Ford Fusion: coffee.

“It’s really kind of a natural,” said Craig Daitch, Ford manager of car communications as he stood outside Commonwealth Coffee in Birmingham, Mi. where Ford was holding a brief pop-up event to show off the new Fusion sedan.

It was the forerunner of dozens of similar events Ford will use to introduce the new Fusion to consumers over the next couple of months before the marketing campaign begins in earnest.

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The Fusion comes equipped with a suite of new safety equipment, including a system that tells drivers they are getting drowsy by flashing a coffee cup at them to suggest they pull over, Ford officials. The Fusion will also come with such advanced safety features as lane guidance and park assist technology.


Ford Planning to “Go Further” with New Global Ad Campaign

Maker intent on “myth-busting.”

by on May.14, 2012

Ford's global marketing czar Jim Farley.

It’s time to do some “myth-busting,” says Ford Motor Co.’s global marketing chief, and the maker is counting on a new global ad campaign, dubbed “Go Further,” to get its message out to potential customers who have long ignored the brand – whether in Boston, Berlin or Beijing.

Replacing the old “Drive One” effort, the unusual new campaign — which downplays the Ford name to lure consumers in for a closer look — will be the largest in the maker’s history, with spending “on a car launch level” even when promoting the overall brand, noted marketing czar Jim Farley during a Monday news conference.

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The goal, added another Ford executive, is to use “every channel” available, from traditional print and television advertising to the latest in social media channels, to reach an otherwise over-saturated market.

And preliminary results suggest the Go Further campaign, launched late last month, is already paying off, generating tremendous follow-through by motorists along the import-oriented coasts.  Ford spots on outlets like have been watched or downloaded more than 3.4 million times, said the executive, on a par with what the best ads to run on the Super Bowl might normally generate.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Ford sets retail ad benchmark, our columnist contends.

by on Apr.08, 2011

Ford’s New ‘Swap Your Ride’ Ad Campaign Sets Retail Benchmark

Ford brings back its effective Swap Your Ride ad campaign.

For almost as long as auto manufacturers have sold to and through local dealers there have been significant differences of opinion – also known as shouting arguments — as to what makes a good dealer or dealer group ad, especially in television, the primary ad medium. And it escalates in intensity prior to the vital spring sales selling period.

Dealers usually want big prices, special deals, their name really big, on-camera appearances, lots of gags, gimmicks and goofy set-ups featuring clowns, dogs, loud suits, whining salespeople and of course shopping hours, convenient terms, special financing and so on. The usual statement to factory and agency reps is, “We know our market a helluva lot better than you fancy-pants do in (insert city name)!

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The factory suits, most who have never sold a car on a showroom floor — combined with sartorially challenged agency “creative” and producers who (a) usually detest doing anything retail and (b) if they’re made to, want pretty brand-building commercials which include sunrise or sunset  beauty shots, running footage in scenic areas, especially California, celebrity actors and/or voiceovers, mind numbing computer generated images, special music, shooting in film not tape and absolutely no mention of the dealers who sell the vehicle. Result? Good looking, non-selling commercials that look really good on personal reels. But retail sales results are dubious.


Ford Sees Fiesta as an American Idol

New subcompact getting high-profile launch.

by on May.18, 2010

"It's a big deal," declares the new advertising tagline for the 2011 Ford Fiesta.

It’s the goal of every automaker, to turn a new product into something that rises above the rest of a crowded market, and Ford is hoping to turn the 2011 Fiesta subcompact into an American idol by launching the new car with a high-profile ad campaign centered around the show, American Idol.

The markting campaign is a critical step in introducing the market to what one senior Ford offical describes as “the biggest launch of the year” for the company, during a preview of the new Fiesta advertising.

Such an effort might have been unlikely in years past.  Indeed, the 2011 Fiesta will be the first subcompact Ford has offered in the United States since 1977.  Traditionally, small cars have been money losers for American manufacturers, and only offered if a company like Ford felt they were needed to lure new, young buyers into the corporate

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The maker is betting Fiesta, which starts at $13,994, is different.  For one thing, it was developed as a global vehicle, rather than just for the U.S. market, so that helped hold down R&D costs.  About 80% of the components used on the American version of the subcompact are shared with the model sold in Europe, significantly improving economies of scale.  And Ford is hoping to break the traditional link between vehicle size and price by offering a range of up-market options that can push the actual transaction price for a well-equipped Fiesta to well above $20,000.