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Auto blogThu, 23 Jan 2014 18:32:00 EST
Customers are a commodity in the automotive industry, and like any other commodity, automakers trade them back and forth. Only nobody wants to give up their customers - just to keep the ones they have and try to attract others.
That's what the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards are all about. Every year the industry research body names the automakers, brands and models that manage to keep their customers coming back for more - and attract buyers to switch from other makes. Ford usually does pretty well, but this year it rose above even its own track record.
Not only did Dearborn win the Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer award, but also the Overall Loyalty to Make. Ford also took the African American category, and the F-150 was named the top full-size half-ton pickup in customer loyalty. Ford COO Mark Fields (pictured above) accepted the awards and gave the keynote address at the awards ceremony.
Three months after kicking off production of the Ford Fusion at its Flat Rock, MI factory, Ford Motor Company is taking steps to trim output in the face of heavily discounted competition from Toyota and a growing supply of vehicles.
The addition of Fusion production in Flat Rock - which also builds the Mustang - was meant to be what pushed the handsome mid-sizer past its arch-nemesis, the Toyota Camry. An extra facility building Fusions was also meant to curb the growing demand for Ford's highly profitable sedan.
But with word that Flat Rock would take "approximately" one extra week off for the holidays combined with an 88-day supply of Fusions - reportedly due in no small part to what Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas called "aggressive discounting of the Camry" - some analysts are now beginning to wonder if Ford may have overextended itself by adding a second Fusion facility to the mix.
The Ford Escort concept just unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show was created with the Chinese market in mind, but it's got people talking all over the world. Not purely fancy, the point of the Escort concept was to give Chinese buyers a preview of what they could expect to see in a Ford showroom in the near future. If Ford wasn't seriously considering the new Escort for other countries, a report in Auto Express indicates that the concept's reception has changed all that.
No less than the incoming chairman of Ford UK said "it could work in other places," bolstering the comments of "a senior Ford insider" who said the question of bringing the car to Europe to slot in underneath the Focus had been raised. That's a long way from anything of the kind happening, which would require Ford to figure out how to sell it for the right price and not torpedo the company reputation among Euro buyers. In any case, we'd be as intrigued as anyone if an Escort resurrection created the next 'who knew?' market segment of few-frills transportation offered by non-Asian carmakers.