DETROIT -- The Ford brand plans to stick with its strategy of concentrating marketing on a few key models next year and will make only one change in the list of vehicles that get special attention.
Ford's "focus vehicles" for 2007 will be the Fusion sedan, F-series pickup and Edge crossover, said Linda Perry-Lube, Ford car communications manager.
Ford is dropping the Escape crossover from the plan in favor of the Edge, which goes into production in October and probably will go on sale around December.
"Edge is huge," Perry-Lube said.
Ford marketers want to get the Edge off to good start. They plan to start advertising in January.
The Mustang also will get special marketing support as part of the 2007 plan, Perry-Lube said. It marks the second year of Mustang's inclusion in the program. Ford also has allocated dealer bonus money to push the Mustang as a halo vehicle this year.
Ford revived its focus-vehicle approach to marketing at the beginning of 2006. Under the plan, the automaker concentrates much of its advertising, incentives and dealer bonus money on a few key nameplates.
Dealers are notified of specifics several weeks in advance so they can order the right vehicles and plan local and regional advertising.
Ford had suggested to dealers that different nameplates would rotate through the program. But the plan for 2007 indicates relative stability in the vehicles Ford wants to push.
It makes sense to maintain emphasis on the F series and Fusion and add the Edge:
- The Edge is the brand's big debut for the 2007 model year.
- The Fusion, which went on sale in late 2005, is Ford's strongest new-car launch in years. Ford wants to keep the momentum going.
- The F series is Ford's biggest moneymaker, and an updated Super Duty will go on sale in early 2007. Ford will be competing with redesigned full-sized pickups from Toyota and General Motors next year and needs to maintain strong F-series marketing.
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