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Ford Using ‘Big Data’ to Make Design Decisions

Using social media feedback helps with process.

by on Jun.26, 2014

Ford's Don Butler noted that Ford’s designers and product planners are turning to social media and survey data as they wrestle with product design issues.

“Big Data” is already helping designers shape new vehicles and its influence will only grow in the years to come, according to a panel of experts assembled by Ford Motor Co. for its annual trends conference. Big data is the deployment of reams of data to meet a specific goal.

Don Butler, the former General Motors executive who is now Ford’s director of connected vehicles and service, noted that Ford’s designers and product planners turned to social media and survey data as they wrestled with whether the lift gate on the new 2013 Ford Escape should be one piece or two, which would allow drivers to open the rear window without raising the entire lift gate.

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“There were no clear indicators,” he said. (more…)

Ford Launches Plug-n-Play Focus Electric on Facebook

Charging across the country with new online game.

by on Apr.12, 2012

Ford will let Facebook friends plug-n-play with a new game based on the Focus Electric.

According to a recent study we reported on earlier in the week, young folks are waiting longer than ever to get their driver’s licenses – and one reason, said the researchers, is that they’re apparently too busy online.

So, no wonder Ford has decided to launch what you might call the plug-n-play version of the maker’s new Focus Electric, an online game that will allow virtual drivers to take a digital road trip with their BFFs – in this case, their Best Facebook Friends.

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“This is a great way for consumers to both have fun and learn about the new Focus Electric at the same time,” said Chad D’Arcy, Focus Electric marketing manager. “We want to offer people the opportunity to experience the car now, especially those on Facebook who have supported us for so long.”

Dubbed “Plug N Play in Electric City with the 2012 Focus Electric,” the game allows up to five people to take a trip in the battery version of Ford’s compact sedan.  The maker is betting it’s a good way to spread the word about the Focus Electric which officially went on sale in California last December – though it is only beginning to be rolled out now in any real volume.


Ford Offering Public “Ultimate” Explorer Adventure

by on Feb.09, 2011

Ford wants the public to build their own, "ultimate adventures" around the maker's new Explorer.

Building on its increasing involvement with the fast-growing social media, Ford will offer “a number of people” the opportunity create their “ultimate adventure” built around the maker’s all-new 2011 Explorer SUV.

Those adventures – sponsored by Ford – will be woven into a one-hour TV special, announced Jim Farley, the maker’s global marketing chief, during his keynote speech at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.

“A lot of people think our industry is not open to new ideas,” Farley told a room full of reporters, many representing the new world of online media.  “That’s bunk.”

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And he set out to prove it by describing Ford’s increasing focus on everything from the Internet to mobile smartphone apps.

With the Explorer adventure project, the company will today begin inviting potential participants to enter their ideas through a Facebook fan site, on, or through several other websites.  Ultimately, the maker will choose a minimum of 10 couples to participate.