Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Hills of North Georgia,USA
Re: US:Ford retools marketing plan for Fusion and truck lineup
Ford ads challenge Asian rivals
Blue Oval pushes to win back U.S. sales after losing market share to top sellers Camry, Accord.
Detroit News staff and wires
Looking to prove its Ford Fusion sedan is more than competitive with Asian rivals, Ford Motor Co. has launched a new series of ads putting the vehicle up against the best-selling Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in test drives.
The "Fusion Challenge" ads, which started running Thursday, feature head-to-head comparison test drives organized by Car and Driver magazine and paid for by Ford.
The Detroit News first reported the new ad campaign Thursday.
More than 600 subscribers to the magazine participated in the drive in December. Barry Engle, general manager of Ford brand marketing, wouldn't say how much the publication was paid.
One ad touts the Fusion's results against the Accord and Camry, while the second shows reactions from drivers.
The idea is to break the consumer perception that cars made by foreign automakers are superior. Ford also will offer a special lease deal for the Fusion in January and February, with $0 down, $0 due at signing and no first-month payment.
With the new ads, Ford is trying to "provoke people to think differently about us," Engle said at a press conference Thursday.
Mark Fields, president of Ford's Americas division, said the aim of the ads is to change perceptions.
"Because perception does lag reality," he said. "We can go out there and we can say, 'We've got a great car. We've got a great warranty, etc.' But it's another thing to get vehicles in customers' hands and let them tell us. Think of this as -- probably a bad analogy -- but, the 2007 version of, 'Have You Driven a Ford lately?' Getting us on the shopping and the consideration lists and doing it in a way that has confidence, but not arrogance, and let people decide."
A Detroit News survey by J.D. Power and Associates unveiled this week showed that American's consumers still perceive quality and reliability problems with domestic vehicles despite recent quality gains.
The Fusion and its Mercury and Lincoln versions are critical vehicles for Ford, as they compete with some of the strongest vehicles offered by foreign rivals. Ford North American sales chief Cisco Codina said Thursday that Ford is trying to project a "confident but not cocky" message in order to drive showroom traffic and sales.
The Fusion has won some accolades from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, but Ford executives said Thursday that too few consumers know about it.
In its first full year of sales, Ford sold 142,502 Fusions in 2006. That helped Ford increase car sales 5.4 percent.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....