Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Ford Aims New Products toward Youth Markets

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Ford Aims New Products toward Youth Markets

Article excerpt

By Bill May

Journal Record Staff Reporter

DALLAS _ Like many other companies these days, Ford Motor Co. is going straight for the youth market in an attempt to beef up its sales and improve its image.

Ford F-series pickups, which the company says leads that segment of the automotive industry, have been redesigned, as has the Ranger compact pickup in an effort to wean young people from imports, said Ross Roberts, vice president of Ford Motor Co. and general manager of the Ford Division. In fact, all the concept vehicles by Ford Trucks which were on display here when Roberts spoke to a group of automotive writers were geared entirely to the young.

All were variations of the Ranger, F-150 and earlier Bronco II, which was replaced two years ago by the larger Explorer.

Ford is going against the trend in auto retailing this year, Roberts said, with rising sales in a down market. That trend is expected to continue through the 1993 model year.

"Sales of the F-series pickups are up 9 percent this year over last year while the automotive market in this country is down 1 percent," he told the writers' group. "Ford has 29.7 percent of the trucks sold. In this area of Oklahoma and Texas, Ford is besting Chevrolet again.

"In fact, of the 10 best selling vehicles in the United States, five of them are Fords."

There are four main reasons for this, Roberts said: Ford spent $4.8 billion on new product development and content and products two years into the cycle plan. Quality has improved at all Ford manufacturing locations to the extent that Ford's program should become a model for quality improvement worldwide. Ford has a great dealer network which is involved in most aspects of development and marketing. Dealers are working to improve customer satisfaction.

"These improvements are not just good for Ford," Roberts said. …

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