Ford Launches Ads, Deals to Wow Auto Shoppers

By: Lauren Woods

In the middle of its recovery plan, the Ford Motor Co. is still crippled by frustrating sales and declining customers' confidence. Earlier, a new internal report card reflected that the company is still missing its retail sales and cost-cutting goals. However, executives told employees last Wednesday of a new marketing campaign and expected concessions from suppliers that should keep its North American turnaround plan on track.

Ford earlier launched an advertising campaign designed to declare its recent quality gains. The campaign is also aimed at offering new incentives to alleviate diving sales of pickups. The new ads draw attention to Ford's success in the J.D. Power and Associates' annual survey of new car quality. Last week, the automaker astounded the industry by blowing past rival Toyota Motor Corp. to claim the most top quality awards in the latest quality survey.

Some ads will tout Ford's corporate-wide quality gains. An ad, which has earlier debuted, bears the tagline "Put the pedal to our medals." The tagline was placed over a photo of the five trophies the Dearborn-based automaker received from J.D. Power. Other ads will concentrate on the success of individual brands like Lincoln, the highest rated domestic luxury brand in the annual survey.

During a Webcast, Cisco Codina, Ford's group vice president in charge of sales, marketing and service for North America, told employees: "We're going to leverage this." He added Ford was surprised by the big incentives competitors offered during Memorial Day weekend. To note, Ford was the only one of the top six auto giants to see sales drop last month over May 2006. "Our competitors put quite a bit of money in the marketplace," Codina said, adding that Ford is stepping up its own spending on advertising and incentives this month to make sure that does not happen again.

Aside from incentives, Ford is now offering fabulous deals on chosen product lines. The automaker has announced earlier this month more cash back on its pickups. Purchasers of the 2008 F-Series Super Duty through July 2 can now get $1,500 in cash, up from $1,000, on regular and super-cab models, as well as low-interest financing. What is more, Ford is also offering $1,000 in bonus cash on four-door crew cab models. Additionally, the company will be placing another $1,000 on the 2007 F-150 pickups. That can be combined with the automaker's current zero-percent financing or $3,000 cash-back offer.

While automakers have long sought to wean auto shoppers off incentives and adopt a more cogent pricing model, Art Spinella, the president of CNW Marketing Research, said that Ford has to at least match the competition. "They've been consistently undercut by their competitors," Spinella said. "Even Toyota started throwing money at the Tundra - and a $1 incentive from Toyota is worth $2 from anyone else."

While the Dearborn-based automaker's quality has improved, Spinella said that consumer perception has not kept up. He added Ford needs to keep hitting this point in its advertising, but also needs incentives to get customers into its showrooms to test-drive its new cars and trucks. "It's as good a strategy as any, but it definitely isn't what anyone wants for the long run," Spinella noted.

Like the breeze of the , Ford is playing it cool. "It's time to grow our business!" Codina stressed. "Our products are back, and back with a vengeance." Also, the Ford Americas President Mark Fields told employees last Wednesday that the company is on track to meet its goal of refreshing 70 percent of its vehicle lineup by the end of next year. Nonetheless, he acknowledged more work needs to be done to ensure its turnaround targets.

Top Searches on
Car Focus
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Car Focus
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles