Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mmmm...Blue Kool-Aid

I just read something that really disturbed me. Jim Farley, who came from Toyota to head up Ford's marketing, has apparently been fully assimilated into Ford's groupthink atmosphere. He stated with utmost confidence that Ford will be able to sell 100,000 Flexes per year. Should that happen (without $10,000 on the hood of each one) I'll obligingly pick my tastiest hat to devour.
This weird-looking weiner dog of a vehicle will appeal to some, but will permanently settle into niche-land as soon as all the me-firsts are done grabbing it up to apply faux-wood contact paper to the sides. And since Farley told the press that this is Ford's production goal for the vehicle, it looks like Ford is either going to have to scramble to rearrange the production that fills that factory, or cut a deal with Chrysler to share the lots where they were holding all their unsold Commanders. 

Further along in the little snippet from Automotive News he mentions "the natural traffic historically generated by Ford's Explorer and Expedition SUVs." Ford basically killed off those two models with their recent do-nothing redesigns, meaning those trucks are going to draw in about as many interested buyers as a new Isuzu.

Probably the worst part of all this is that all this talk sounds so familiar. Whenever people at the agency would talk about why a Ford launch was going to go so well, they'd harp on old successes. The Explorer was gonna sell like hotcakes, because Ford was a powerhouse in the SUV market and people trust the Explorer name. The new F-150 will go gangbusters, cause no one can challenge Ford on trucks. Sorry, Ford, but you can't keep expecting the same customers to keep coming back to you. You've gotta keep up with the latest trends in the industry--especially when it comes to styling--and not trust that everyone's going to fall for an overgrown station wagon because it's got the same badge as the former king of SUVs. 

Jim, you're better that this. Don't just repeat what the brand managers and agency tell you. Come back to reality. We miss you.

1 comment:

Adena said...

OMG could the Flex look ANY MORE like a Scion XB?!? Come on Ford, I mean really? And I agree even more with this post after having seen it (did ya get lazy? Where's the pic ;) ). They really do not have a clue, it's laughable. This is exactly why they teeter on the edge of going out of business.