Over the decades Ford has built itself up as a reputable company for manufacturing good cars. But they have also built a reputation as a cyclic boom, bust company. Too many times Ford has been on top only to topple off and have to work their way back up again. But the manufacturer is working hard to change that. Luxury is their new aim, and Ford is striving to compete with anyone out there to be considered among the best in the business.
Starting to Stand Out
In 2009 the economy was going through a tough time all around and auto makers were getting slammed as much as anyone else and this was the beginning of Ford stepping out from the pack. When the crisis hit:
· Chrysler took $12.5 billion in government bailout money.
· GM costs tax payers between $10-12 billion in bailouts.
· Ford, took no bailout money but did receive a government loan for $5.9 billion.
The online source Wards Auto shares a quote from Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president- marketing and communications, as saying, “By not taking emergency loans, we signaled we were different”.
Continuing to Move Forward
In an attempt to reach a younger, more affluent audience, Ford is starting to take some cues from China and their love of luxury. According to Reuters online they are set to launch the new Lincoln luxury car line in China in 2014. A few changes to note:
· There will be a strong focus on the “face” of the car making sure it has no negative connotations.
· There will be wider headlights; larger back seat; and a more symmetrical design.
· It will have a ‘discreet’ luxury avoiding overt symbols of wealth.
How Ford is Continuing to Grow
A 2012 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette revealed that a J.D. Power and Associates survey showed Ford had an 11% improvement for vehicle brands with the fewest problems. What are some things Ford is doing to build a better vehicle?
· Using new robotic laser inspection technology to make sure cars are safer and more solidly built.
· Becoming increasingly proactive in fixing recall issues.
· Built more fuel efficient cars than anyone else.
· Adding more technological advancements with navigation and on board systems for drivers.
Is Ford’s Plan Working?
In an online article from Fox Business it is clear that Ford’s improvements are generating sales because it is reported that in 2012 Ford reached their highest level of sales since 2007. One of the reasons they are growing is because they are becoming more competitive with luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes, and Audi. A couple of their comparable cars are:
· Taurus SHO
o 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine.
o MyFord Touch, including voice command technology.
o My Key technology.
o Multilink SR1 rear sport tuned suspension.
o SHO Performance package.
· Lincoln MKS
o Climate controlled and Active Motion seats.
o Heated steering wheel, and remote start.
o Navigation system with Sirius XM Traffic and Travel Link.
o THX II Certified audio system.
o Collision warning; brake support; adaptive cruise control; BLIS with Cross-Traffic alert.
Price is also comparable, even better in most cases with dealers like Ken Garff Ford listing a 2013 Taurus SHO for less than $44,000.
Ford has not only been striving to be a better, more luxurious car manufacturer, they have been succeeding at it. If Ford continues on this path they will not only become leaders in the luxury automobile industry, they can finally say good bye to the boom, bust cycles of before