DETROIT -- To cut marketing expenses, Ford Motor Co. says it will trim its regional dealership advertising groups by about a third at year end.
The company now has 87 groups, 62 for the Ford brand and 25 for Lincoln Mercury. By January, that will drop to 56 overall, 36 for Ford and 20 for Lincoln Mercury.
The consolidation is being planned in collaboration with the national dealer council, Ford marketing chief Jim Farley said. Ford will share details of the new structure later.
The roster was created decades ago for a Ford with 25 percent market share, Farley said. The company's domestic brands now have a market share of about 15 percent."The scale of our company is pretty different today," Farley told Automotive News last week. "We have to be more efficient. We have to take more of our dollars and put it into customer-facing media and less on waste."
Each ad association has administrative costs -- an accountant, a lawyer, monthly financial statements -- that don't directly promote Ford products, Farley said. With fewer groups, Ford and the dealers can put the savings into marketing.
Ford also is trimming the percentage of the vehicle sticker price that is contributed to regional and local dealership advertising. Ford told the dealers about those cuts in June.
Despite those cuts, Farley said the efficiency gains and smarter media buying will ensure that Ford vehicles get the proper push in local, regional and national markets.
"I'm fully convinced it's going to increase our exposure a lot," he said. "I guarantee you that when you add up all those three tiers, we're going to market with a lot more customer-facing media."
Farley also said Ford is increasing overall marketing spending for the next six months but didn't give details. Additional ads will tout new vehicles under Ford's Drive One banner.