Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Despite being mortgaged the Blue Oval still shines, benefiting from tarnished image of competition

The iconic Blue Oval shines, despite the fact that the very logo was mortgaged months ago.
Ford Motor Company, the only domestic manufacturere not to take federal recovery loans or declare bankruptcy is seeing an increase in sales, market share and stock price for several reasons, but one of the most important is perception.
Perception can mean everything in the auto industry and for the first time in a long time, that is paying off for Ford Motor Company. Perception isn't always based on reality, like the perception that domestic auto makers couldn't match the quality or service of foreign makes. All you need to do to dispell that myth is look at JD Powers rating and actually drive some of the domestics.
But the false perceptions have kept folks away.
Some perceptions are based on short term factors, like the recent good press that Ford has been recieving and the bad news for domestic competition. And this can change quickly. Right now Ford is doing it's best to cash on on several things. They've got new product like the Fusion, Flex and 2010 Mustang. They've recieved great press on green technology like the Hybrid Fusion, EcoBoost powertrains and new small platforms coming ( Fiesta & Transit Connect) and people are actually trying out Ford cars.
Maybe some folks are looking at Ford because they're skitish about buying a bankrupt GM or Chrysler. Maybe they're looking at incentives, but hopefully they'll drive away because of improved perceptions. Ford is right to capitalize on the good press, but needs to be prepared for the future. So, yes some incentives for defecting Chrysler or GM customers, but more work on the overal quality/value perception front. I've heard Ford may dust off the old slogan, "have you driven a Ford lately?" and now is the time to do it. "If you build it (Quality cars people want to drive) they will come.."

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