Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Have you driven a piece of crap lately?

According to Ad Age, Ford, now the #3 automobile company in America after GM and Toyota, has just hired Jim Farley from Lexus as their new VP, Marketing and Communications. Farley will be "working with the company's worldwide-business-unit leaders and global-product-development organization" in areas that include brand development and product planning. He'll be "a significant voice" in product planning, marketing, public relations and communications." His budget will be in the neighborhood of $5.1 billion. You can read the whole kit and kaboodle here: http://adage.com/article?article_id=121137

By all accounts Farley has done a great job at Lexus. But his challenge at Ford is more formidable. Ford's problem, to my mind, isn't that they make ugly, sexless cars. Or their union/healthcare issues. Or that many of their commercials are horrendous. (Have you seen the Derek Jeter one for their "crossover," the Edge? It is to advertising what the Gowanus Canal is to clean water.)

No, Ford's problem is that they have lied to the car buying public for at least the length of my lifetime. From a corporate point of view, Ford was as duped by their chrome-clad-ness as they hoped consumers would be. They made cars that didn't work or were outright dangerous ostensibly masked by glitter. They created a dealer network that didn't serve their customers and had no appreciation whatsoever of the notion of lifetime value. They've been anti-fuel-economy, anti-environment--claiming that higher fleet mileage averages are impossible to achieve as are alternatives to internal combustion.

This is the challenge Farley faces. Good ads and good styling will not save Ford (or GM, or Chrysler, or anyone else.) Ford must find a way to rebuild the trust its squandered. That is job one.


Unknown said...

Were they running "Ford Has A Better Idea" or singing "Ford Quality is Job One" at the same time that Pintos were exploding all across the heartland? Remember? It would be funny were it not so desparately unfunny.

george tannenbaum said...

In writing this post, I bit my lower lip and did not mention that Ford's Dearborn Independent, and Ford himself, were both virulently anti-semetic and responsible for the worldwide distribution of "the Eternal Jew," a version of the famous Czarist forgery "the Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Further, Ford was awarded an Iron Cross by Hitler for helping the Nazis modernize their factories. You can lookit up.

Tore Claesson said...

oh shit.
deserves no good then.