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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-14-02, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Strategic Direction

We have often discussed the differences between HSV and Tickford/FPV on these boards but I thought it might be a good time to look a little deeper than the usual homilies and platitudes we bleat about the relative merits of the two organisations.

Let us start with the similarities:

1. Both organisations are similar in age - one having started from the ashes of HDT and the other with the JVA.

2. Both organisations produce relatively small numbers of vehicles that appeal to the enthusiast and which are based on their respective manufacturers model ranges.

... and the differences:

1. One (HSV) has widespread brand recognition even amongst non-enthusiasts.

2. One (HSV) has their product supported by on-track success.

From my view, however, the biggest difference seems to be that HSV have had a focused and well planned strategy that they have adhered to and Ford hasn't.

I could go on for weeks with examples of this but there isn't much point. We all know the story.

Now it seems to me that FPV and Ford have got great product in the BA range. Segment for segment they should represent market leaders if there is any justice.
But success is about far more than the product and this has been the weakness for Ford these last few years.
An important part of the success HSV have had can be laid at the overall strategy which has:

1. Served to create a cachet for the vehicles in the marketplace thus making them aspirational vehicles.
2. Ensured good retained values for the product by a process of evolutionary improvements not revolutionary.
3. Strongly supported the racing efforts with merchandise and official presence.
4. Maintained the core DNA of the premium vehicles in the lower models to leverage the image.
5. Used clever marketing campaigns to create demand.

It is this cohesive strategy that has assisted the success - frequently with product that is inferior to the Ford product.

Now I can see that FPV provides Ford with a golden opportunity to build the same strenght for their product. Some of the steps already taken are definitely in the right direction - for example:

1. The introduction of a more common visual presence across the range will assist with point 4 above.
2. The more cohesive race strategy developed for 2003 and beyonf will assist with point 3 above.
3. The marketing campaigns used so far are a good step in the direction of point 5 above although they are probably still a bit short in that area.

This leaves points 1 and 2 uncovered.
Essentially Point 1 can only be resolved with time. It is not enough to just have an aspirational product - it actually has to be desirable as well.

Point 2 will also only be proven with the passage of time. Market forces and the actions of the dealer network will have a bearing on this but unless they do become truly aspirational then retained values are unlikely to significantly improve.

This is not a criticism - merely a commentary.
I am pleased (delays aside) with the efforts to date and this is enough to provide me with some hope for the future.
But I am a realist. I know that these sort of vehicles represent such a tiny proportion of overall sales (albeit a profitable one) that it must be tempting to walk away from repeated failure. Thankfully David and the FPV people are not quitters and I know that they are all working towards a common goal. I just hope the overall strategy is enough to bring the product the success it - and the long suffering supporters - deserve.


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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-14-02, 05:45 PM
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I think it is good that Ford is also going to build vehicles that will match HSV in all of the key areas, not just a few. I feel that Ford have also taken an extra step in aiming to be the bench mark, not just try and catch up on what HSV was, because they as are most things, a moving target continually improving their models.

The new FPV range will now become the biggest stick with the GT, GT-P and PURSUIT models. Drawing on the old GT name will only add to the impact and desirability of the cars.

I guess we will find out how the cards fall soon enough.

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-14-02, 06:37 PM
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Re: Strategic Direction

Originally posted by russellw

1. Both organisations are similar in age - one having started from the ashes of HDT and the other with the JVA.

What's JVA?

You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-14-02, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-14-02, 08:29 PM
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I'm sure by now everyone knows my view of the weaknesses of the Blue Oval brand, but with the 'fully integrated' strategy being touted by Ford/FPV, the two main points of contention have to be the Marketing Department and the Dealer network...

Neither have scored many goals in the last few years, and I am more than eager to see this situation rectified in the near future.

On the subject of the Marketing Department, the 'Secrets Revealed' teaser campaign and the initial 'Can't get Enough of This' ad were promising, but the lack of follow-up and extensive advertising to promote the Best Cars and COTY wins leads me to believe that constant vigilance is still not fully in effect at Broadmeadows.

Then I heard that the GT was to be unveiled at the January long weekend GT Nationals at Bathurst - a masterstroke I thought!

Only I've subsequently heard this has been delayed due to a hold up with Ford getting the XR8 out. So now we have a situation where an incredible amount of free news coverage and good-will could possible be derailed by a short-sighted Ford marketing department not thinking of the good-will factor that would come FPV's way with this type of unveiling!

If XR8 press cars have already been built and are presumably in the hands of the media as we speak, you'd think that Ford would want XR8 on the cover of magazines with January in-store dates, followed by XR8/SS comparoes in February, then the GT media and magazine blitz starts in March to coincide with the start of the V8Supercar season, allowing FPV/HSV articles to take you through to the middle of the year!

I won't even comment on the dealer network - we've all here had many a say on this particular sore point over the last few months, so we've heard it all before.

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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-14-02, 08:53 PM
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I wish Ford would buy out all the dealers and run them all internally.

Most of the existing dealerships are causing more lost sales than the AU design ever did.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-02, 12:17 AM
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Well said Russ, i agree with the going's on of the Ford operation versus the HSV organisation.

I see HSV as one of the best marketing businesses in the country, they make good out of little in regards to marketing, and they have products out there for just about everything, from car accesseries stubbie holders to g-bangers. This in turn brings in not just motoring enthusiasts but the kids and wives/girlfriends too. Creates a good "hero" image for the brand.

Ford now have an obviously superior product and with success on the racetrack, FPV can also be a large household name within australia.

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-02, 01:53 AM
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I also strongly agree that Ford has failed in the marketing department. We all now that HSV buys the Commodore, which means that they can do what ever they want to the car and sell it as a HSV. Tickford on the other would receive a Falcon from Ford and Ford would tell them what they wanted and Tickford would do it.

This is one of the reasons why that segment of the market failed. Tickford were not given the opportunity or freedom to do the things that HSV were doing. But back in '92 Ford/Tickford produced a car that nobody in the market could compete with for a long time. The EBII XR6, and seems as though they restes on that success while Holden & HSV were producing BIG V8's. Ford have now taken that extra step again with the XR6 by adding a Turbo.

However, it has taken somebody like GP to come out and deliver what the consumers wanted. It would be interesting to see what sort of marketing campaign would be in place to tackle HSV once the FPV range is out.

P.S. I have also heard that Ford Ads for Falcon Wheels car of the year have just been completed.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-02, 02:30 AM
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I novate my car so I am very interested in retained value at the end of the lease.
I would like Ford to have a fixed by back price depending on service history and usage so I can have more confidence in not losing out come trade in time(I bought a AU I).

I know it would be difficult but lease companies seem to be able to manage, I sure Ford could do it. If Ford guarantee a minimum value then this would boost the value of all second hand cars.
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-02, 02:34 AM
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I actually think that Ford have developed the nigh on perfect car for the enthuisast, however.. only the enthusiast knows about it. It's time Mum & Dad Public knew abiut the vertues of the New BA Falcon..

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