Ford Motor Company is in an interesting place. The auto industry as a whole faces major shifts in the coming years, and every brand has to figure out a way to manage these changes while staying competitive. For Ford, that means revamping the company’s entire model line with either new upgrades or entirely new brands. In fact, Ford is expected to replace fully 75% of the U.S. lineup in the next two years. That’s a tight timeline, but the company believes an aggressive approach is necessary.
Some of the “new” models will have a bit of nostalgia mixed in. There will be a new Ranger, as well as updated versions of the popular Escape and Explorer. Other brands in the new lineup will include the updated Mustang GT500, a full-size Transit van, and a new Super Duty pickup.
To break the news of the new editions, Ford kicked off its “Built Ford Proud” campaign on a recent weekend of NCAA college football. The core idea of the campaign, which Ford says was developed with help from dealers, is to highlight the company’s “passion, innovation, and commitment to building great vehicles over 115 years…”
And, while Ford is reaching way back to trigger nostalgia, the company is also touting its intention to take the lead in “smart vehicles for a smart world…”
Ford group VP and chief marketing officer Joy Falotico said “pride” was at the heart of the campaign. “Every Ford employee I know comes to work each day proud to drive a Ford vehicle and to build great products, services and experiences for our customers…”
That message was echoed by dealers who, Ford says, contributed to the focus of the campaign. One dealer, Sam Pack, said he was proud to be part of the “Ford family’s” success. “This is what it means to fly the Blue Oval… giving back to the community and seeing how excited owners are to drive Ford vehicles and to have new products in the hottest segments about to go on sale.”
So, it’s clear that dealers and the executives are excited. But the proof of the success of the Built Ford Proud campaign will be in the customer response. With a more crowded market, and long-time customer loyalties being tested by both domestic and foreign competition, Ford still has to compete harder than ever for sales and market share.
Meanwhile, the entire industry is facing an increased timeline in the race toward both more electric and more autonomous vehicles. Ford’s success, long-term, may well hinge as much on how they do in those segments as it does on how well their new and re-tooled lineup of “built with pride” vehicles are accepted by consumers.