New Ford Ideas Are Crazy (and Genius)

2012 Ford Fusion

Two recent developments from Dearborn could be used to make the case that Ford has gone crazy.

Or to affirm the fact that the people running Ford are geniuses.

If a company decides to eliminate its name from advertising, well, why bother advertising, right? Naturally, if someone brought up that idea in a marketing meeting, he or she would be labeled as crazy and promptly fired.

“You know, Mr. Mulally, I think for our next corporate ad campaign we should avoid the word ‘Ford’ and quite possibly not show our logo, either.”

Right.

That same guy is probably the one who recommended a motorcycle engine for the next Fiesta, too.

But, you know, both ideas kind of make sense.

Bloomberg says,

Ford Motor Co. (F), seeking to overcome negative perceptions, debuted a new corporate advertising campaign last month that showed new models stripped of the Ford blue oval badge and that never mentioned the automaker by name.

The article went on to quote Matt VanDyke, the company’s U.S. director of marketing communications, who explained the situation,

The reality of the quality of our products is just ahead of where the perception of the brand is, still, here in the U.S.

As a former ad man, I can translate for you what this means:

There are too many cartoon drawings on the back of Chevy trucks of kids peeing on Ford logos. Some people hear the name “Ford” and still think of a 1997 Escort. Naturally, the solution is to separate the new product from the old logo, at least in marketing. It could work well enough to get people past any initial hesitation and willing to check out the Blue Oval. For that reason, I give this an idea an A+.

What about the motorcycle engine? Well, of course, it’s not actually a motorcycle engine. It’s just not much bigger than one. Officially, the new mill is a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost for use in the 2014 Ford Fiesta. Its actual displacement is slightly less: 999 cc. Crazy low numbers for a car, right? Yes, but its performance numbers look like they will stack up. Expect 123 hp, 0-60 in around 10 seconds, a top speed of 120 mph and, most important, fuel economy somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 mpg city/41 highway.

That’s all achieved with direct injection, turbocharging and variable timing for both the inlet and exhaust camshafts.

Yeah, both ideas are kind of crazy and certainly unconventional. But they are also genius and should propel Ford into a day when no one wants to pee on its logo.

Could you see a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine in your future?

-tgriffith

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  1. Randy
    May 16th, 2012 at 18:00 | #1

    Ford certainly needs to reclaim many of those millions of customers lost to import brands like Toyota, but the problem isn’t the name, it’s the product. Toyota customers KNOW their cars are extrememly reliable, so why should they take a chance on spending just as much or more on a brand that disappointed them so much in the past? Given the simply awful quality of my old Mercury minivan, I can understand why many former owners will not buy another Ford.

  2. Kevin
    May 16th, 2012 at 14:57 | #2

    I’ve already had a 3 cylinder 1litre in my 1993 Geo Metro. The gas mileage was fantastic. My only concern was the size of the metro – it was so small people wouldn’t see you and change lanes right where you were…the 3 cylinder did ok with the manual shift that it came with. I liked the car too bad I wrote it off in an accident.

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