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Old 29th May 2016, 14:05   #1
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Default Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign-fordfigoaspire32.jpg
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A recent survey conducted by Ford India over the past 2 years brought up alarming results - customers are drifting away from the American auto brand! They are simply not attracted to the Blue Oval's recent offerings irrespective of model, colour or specifications.

Acting swiftly on these results, Global Team Ford has lined up a massive Rs 200 crores+ multimedia brand-campaign for a makeover of it's brand perception in the Indian auto market.

Quite possibly the biggest brand transformation campaign in the auto industry, this is aimed at highlighting the Blue Oval company's after-sales and service quality and customer-friendly steps such as trust and transparency in after-sales services, capping the routine expense for car services, knowledge of costs of periodic maintenance during bookings of Ford cars, spare parts costs on the Ford India website, complete servicing of a Ford car in 90 minutes & offering a loaner car to customers whose Ford cars' servicings take more than 24 hours.

This is coming on the back of the lukewarm response from the market towards it's newly launched Figo twins, and the fall in sales of it's bestselling compact SUV, the EcoSport, even after getting a huge price reduction after the launch of the Maruti Vitara Brezza.

Quote:
“Figo is selling less than its predecessor. We started with 7,000-8,000 units a month. We came down to 1,200 a month. Today, my new Figo is doing less than that. Why is that? Nobody has an answer to that. Where are the people who used to buy the Figos?” asks an exasperated top official at Ford India, requesting anonymity.

The survey’s results, which pointed to the trust deficit with buyers, have prompted the firm to roll out the auto industry’s biggest brand transformation campaign estimated at Rs.204 crore, said three people in the know of the matter. None of them wished to be identified.

The last time the Indian automobile industry saw such heavy-duty marketing was in 2011 when Delhi-based Hero Group spent Rs.175 crore to build the Hero MotoCorp Ltd brand after its separation from Honda Motor Co. on 16 December 2010.

A Ford India spokesperson confirmed it has already rolled out a multimedia brand campaign. “The campaign encompasses the entire gamut of the Ford portfolio of products and services—promising trust and transparency as experienced in a family,” the Ford spokesperson said in response to a Mint questionnaire.

As part of the campaign to regain customer trust, Ford will put a cap on the routine expense for a car service. If a customer is charged more by the dealer, the company will reimburse the entire amount and initiate an inquiry against the dealer concerned. This will help customers know the cost of periodic maintenance even before making the booking.
Quote:
Under a new initiative, Ford has introduced a host of measures at its dealerships and service touch points to support on-ground delivery and to strengthen relationships with the customers. To offer better services to its customers, the company has also introduced a service price calculator on its website.

"The price promise allows customers to know the cost of periodic maintenance even before booking the service at a Ford dealership. It enables customers to carry a print out of the calculated web quote, ensuring complete trust and transparency in their service experience at any Ford dealership," the spokesperson said.

Customers can also check the price of parts at Ford India website. The company is focusing on ensuring availability of its parts through a network of authorised parts distributors across the country, covering Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi, Hyderabad, Telangana, Karnataka, among others.

"In the next phase, the expansion will see retail distribution getting launched in Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan," the spokesperson said.

Live Mint & Financial Express


Link to Ford's Official Spare Parts Cost Calculator

Link to Ford's Official Periodic Maintenance Service Cost

Last edited by RavenAvi : 29th May 2016 at 14:20.
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Old 29th May 2016, 14:27   #2
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

Finally a positive and strong initiative from Ford. They have always been making competent VFM cars and it was only brand perception that was bringing them down.

This move if properly executed should get them some results over some period of time.
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Old 29th May 2016, 15:10   #3
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

Wonderful initiative by Ford. They have been making some good cars in the recent times. I would be disheartened as an engineer if the new Endeavour is not a success and loses the plot to the Fortuner just because its a Toyota. They need to invest on their existing dealerships and make sure they do not end up representing Ford in a negative way.

E.g: Hyderabad got 3 Ford dealers. Interact with them and it would be easy to rank The best, good and the bad one. Ford should figure out why two dealers are ranked less than the best and work on bringing them to the highest level possible.

Another focus area would be Spares. Ford needs to make sure that necessary spares for all models of Ford cars are available easily. I have heard few Ecosport customers complaining about lack of spares for their cars (but vouch that their cars are great for riding and value for money). I already posted my feedback on lack of Endeavour spares on the official review thread (of Ford Endeavour).

Last edited by sunishsamuel : 29th May 2016 at 15:15.
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Old 30th May 2016, 01:09   #4
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Once a product flops, it's hard to recover. First impression is the best impression in the automobile market as well. Ford has failed with the Fiesta and the Figo twins, and due to misplaced priorities - did not capitalize on the success of the Ecosport as well.

If Vitara Brezza gradually kills Ecosport, Ford is in big trouble in India with no major products lined up for release and no sales as well. I guess they realize that as well and hence this huge marketing campaign, huge price reductions on the Ecosport etc. In fact, one could easily sense their desperation the way the slashed prices of the Ecosport within a day of the Brezza launch. God bless competition.

Co-incidentally, Automotive media also seems excited with the first place hot hatch performance of the Figo diesel by 0.1 seconds in the Overdrive track test.

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Old 30th May 2016, 01:33   #5
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

I don't think Ford's problems are with their after sales service. Earlier their services were very poor and it was only because dealers were trying to rip off their customers by over pricing spares etc but people ( like me ) who complained to Ford USA directly got justice immediately.

I think the issue now is much better competition from marques like Hyundai for example. In the same segment Hyundai's car's offer much better features at cheaper prices compared to Ford.

So maybe Ford should start thinking to price their car's more aggressively like they did with the Endeavour.
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Old 30th May 2016, 03:47   #6
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
I think the issue now is much better competition from marques like Hyundai for example. In the same segment Hyundai's car's offer much better features at cheaper prices compared to Ford.
I would disagree with this quote - The Aspire and Figo are right up there with the Hyundais on features, as well as as better on ride/handling + performance.

What Ford needs to do is:
- Stop launching new models and reducing the prices of the old ones. It completely kills their image, especially during resale (Fiesta Classic, Ikon Flair, etc.)
- Fight the perception of high maintenance
- Go back to their roots. There is enough competition in the mass market segment, but all the competition lacks the soul that made Ford cars special (ask any Ikon / Figo / Fiesta owner). Their new models lack this soul too with dulled down driving dynamics.
- Have a better dealer network - In Mumbai, there is no dealer in South Mumbai! Not only that, the dealers don't inspire confidence. A friend had a very sour experience with Ford on his Aspire A/T (though he is loving the car), and similarly - I haven't experienced great response from them the past 2-3 times I've visited their showrooms.
As an ex-owner of 3 Fords, and one who is completely smitten by their products - I do not see myself purchasing another Ford vehicle (though I'm very tempted by the Endy & Figo) simply because I don't want to risk their sales and service given one of their best dealerships in town has just shut shop. Our Skoda is a pain enough to put me off the VWAG group (very sensible products, but there is always that hesitancy to buy just because of service quality and costs), and I don't want to have that experience with Ford.
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Old 30th May 2016, 04:54   #7
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
Hyundai's car's offer much better features at cheaper prices compared to Ford.
The average joe/jane doesn't care about the six airbags or the 1.5L DCT combo, to them Grand i10/Xcent has better cabin, reversing camera, rear AC vents etc features along with the perceived peace of mind regarding A.S.S. Then there's the Swifts, Dzires and Balenos from MS stable. Now Ecosport is also feeling the heat because of Vitara Brezza. Almost everyday I am seeing Ecosport & Figo ad on TV now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
So maybe Ford should start thinking to price their car's more aggressively like they did with the Endeavour.
If they undercut their competitors then they may sell more. Can someone give me a few reasons why any average car buyer would choose the Aspire over a Dzire, Xcent or Baleno at same price?
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Old 30th May 2016, 07:22   #8
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
- Go back to their roots. There is enough competition in the mass market segment, but all the competition lacks the soul that made Ford cars special (ask any Ikon / Figo / Fiesta owner). Their new models lack this soul too with dulled down driving dynamics.
+1.

They are going the commuter way with the new cars. If they want to compete with the Koreans, then Ford needs to be better than the Koreans in that way.

The perception about service is another key point. The recent "recall " about the SRS did not help.
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Old 30th May 2016, 08:50   #9
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

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Originally Posted by Debajyoti View Post
Can someone give me a few reasons why any average car buyer would choose the Aspire over a Dzire, Xcent or Baleno at same price?
Aspire...
- fastest car in this range
- safest with 6 airbags
- looks better
- international pedigree
- cheaper service and maintenance
- uniqueness; it's not what everyone else has

Some of these might not appeal to the so-called average buyer, but then it is Ford's duty to educate the customer and that, I guess, is what the 200 crore is for.
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Old 30th May 2016, 09:26   #10
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by samaspire View Post
Aspire...
- fastest car in this range
- safest with 6 airbags
- looks better
- international pedigree
- cheaper service and maintenance
- uniqueness; it's not what everyone else has

Some of these might not appeal to the so-called average buyer, but then it is Ford's duty to educate the customer and that, I guess, is what the 200 crore is for.
All the points you mentioned are very much true, both Figo and Aspire are great cars in their segment BUT the average buyer thinks differently and Ford marketing team is unsuccessful in highlighting its USP's. If looks were a decision maker then Dzire would have not sold in those number (no offence to any owners, Dzire is a great car but not in the looks department) Regarding its performance and handling, according to Overdrive Figo DCT was actually slower than Punto Abarth, Polo GT and Baleno and steering was vague than the Elite i20 Affordable hot hatchback track test: Ford Figo

Last edited by GTO : 30th May 2016 at 23:13. Reason: Typos
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Old 30th May 2016, 09:41   #11
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

This is going to be a difficult task for Ford in India.
It is not the car , but what the public thinks about Maruti and Hyundai which is difficult to change.

Apart from a small percentage of car buyers who are well informed about the technicalities and the what the brand is all about, the majority rest rely mostly on word of mouth of people who have these brands or have experienced it.
Herd mentality is an Indian trait in any aspect of life. It is very likely a buyer would go for a Maruti and Hyundai listening to a friend or relative who has the same brand. And these two brands deliver too, so there are no complaints and the end result is a peaceful happy ownership.

Yes, there are other factors as well affecting the numbers, but I feel this is one of the deciding factor.

I am surprised that the new Figo did not click like the older one for Ford, initially atleast.

Last edited by tharian : 30th May 2016 at 09:55.
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Old 30th May 2016, 09:49   #12
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

Well, a really good move by Ford here. Figo and Aspired had a very muffled launch, sandwiched between the S-Cross and Creta launches. Our market loves crossovers and SUVs, we all know that by now.

And instead of trying to shout louder than them, Ford's ad was too submissive. They did not make a statement about the standard airbags, or the option of 6 airbags, or the availability of leather seats, or the sync audio or the class leading performance, or the 'winner' title in almost all the comparisons by leading magazines.
But I also think, they should delete the leather seat feature ( a no-no, for our humid country ) and add touch screen music system with reversing camera.

However, finally they are making a really good effort, and I really hope they succeed

In other news, I am just trying to get my Fiesta in for the 30,000 km service and looking forward to experience the Family treatment Will keep the thread updated with my experience.
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Old 30th May 2016, 12:35   #13
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

Having owned 2 Fords till date, and presently having the all new Figo with serious mileage issues that is unresolved, will I buy another Ford ? I dont think so ! Everything right from the buying experience, customer relation, service follow ups, pick and drop, cost of maintenance etc. I am happy with everything. But a concern remains a concern as in the present case. Somehow they are not able to find out what is missing. Will this present budget and campaign make a difference ? Personally I feel may be a 'bit'. But that may not help them save the brand ! Lets wait and watch !
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Old 30th May 2016, 14:45   #14
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Unhappy re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

This brand transformation campaign et all does not drive up real sales unless they address some of these serious issues which affect customer sentiment right at the point of purchase -
  1. There are many instances when a customer has made an enquiry for an EcoSport or a Figo twin and there has been no response or call from any dealer whatsoever . An enquiry is a potential sale if managed well.
  2. Even if the customer has visited a dealership, there has not been any serious follow up of the customer till he makes a decision either ways. Just make an enquiry at a Toyota dealership and you will know what I mean to get hounded for at least half a dozen times before being let off.
  3. The dealerships are also not that swanky compared to a Hyundai etc and had personally experienced one with no power backup and ventilation for over half an hour during my purchase process.
  4. The test drives and follow ups are just customary with no big push to explain more about the vehicle or its features. Again go and test drive a i10 or a i20 to know how you coaxed to start loving the car and purchase it eventually.
  5. Accessories listed are necessarily not available with the dealerships and one has to do multiple follow ups to check if it has become available.

Though some would not experienced all these issues however many whom I know have faced some such issue or the other including myself.

However on the product itself which is an EcoSport Titanium diesel, I am supremely satisfied with not even one, yes you read it right one niggle faced till now for 1.5 years.

But just having a great product or a great marketing campaign does not ensure one success in the marketplace but a lot of other small things matter which some other successful companies do such as Maruti and Hyundai and sell hordes of vehicles month on month.

If only these above points are fixed, they could fetch a bigger bump in sales than what a swank 200+ crore marketing campaign would get them and yes many of the issues can be fixed without spending a huge amount of money but the right training and focus on customer delight.

They could as well spend an equal amount of money helping the dealerships upgrade to a more swankier avatar.

Last edited by girishglg : 30th May 2016 at 14:51.
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Old 30th May 2016, 14:48   #15
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Default re: Ford rolls out a 200-crore brand transformation campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debajyoti View Post
The average joe/jane doesn't care about the six airbags or the 1.5L DCT combo, to them Grand i10/Xcent has better cabin, reversing camera, rear AC vents etc features along with the perceived peace of mind regarding A.S.S. Then there's the Swifts, Dzires and Balenos from MS stable. Now Ecosport is also feeling the heat because of Vitara Brezza. Almost everyday I am seeing Ecosport & Figo ad on TV now.



If they undercut their competitors then they may sell more. Can someone give me a few reasons why any average car buyer would choose the Aspire over a Dzire, Xcent or Baleno at same price?
Well said. It's difficult to choose Ford over Hyundai or Maruti for the exact reason mentioned above. Hyundai's car seems well appointed with stuff's like rear cam's and AC's. Aspire is more expensive even without these features.

And like you said, interior is just too good on the Xcent and refinement too has improved a lot. Only thing Ford has on the Hyundai is slightly better driving dynamics which I'm sure not many in this segment really care about.
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