DEARBORN — Leaders lead.
That’s the underlying philosophy behind the tremendous 65-year success of Ford F-Series trucks.
“The Ford Truck team never stands still,” said Doug Scott, manager, Ford Truck Group Marketing. “We’re always looking for ways to improve the product and we’re always listening to customers very carefully to understand how to do that.”
Listening to customers has helped make F-Series America’s best-selling truck for 35 consecutive years and the best-selling vehicle of any type – car, SUV or truck – for 30 years in a row.
By gathering valuable insight from dealers, conducting comprehensive customer clinics and engaging with pickup truck buyers where they work and play – through long-lasting affiliations with Future Farmers of America, Country music star Toby Keith, Professional Bull Riders and NASCAR – the truck team continues to gain intimate knowledge of consumer wants and needs and uses that information to make continuous improvements to the Ford truck lineup.
“We’re not resting on our laurels,” said Mike Levine, manager, Truck Communications. “We are never satisfied with the level that we’ve achieved – be it with performance, efficiency or features – and we’re going to do what’s best for our customers, which is to keep making our trucks better and better.”
The introduction of EcoBoost® to the F-150 powertrain lineup in the 2011 model year exemplifies how the Ford truck team addressed a longstanding need expressed by pickup truck customers with an innovative solution.
“We knew that our customers wanted better fuel economy. We knew they wanted performance,” said Raj Sarkar, manager, F-150 Marketing. “But we also knew that the solution was going to be changing the rules of the game so to speak in terms of what these customers were used to.”
The issue at hand was proposing the idea of a V6 EcoBoost engine to consumers who for the most part believed strongly in V8’s and the concept of “no replacement for displacement.”
“It was a real leap of faith as to whether or not we could convince them that we made the right bet on the EcoBoost technology,” said Sarkar.
To prove their case to customers, the truck team launched a full-scale marketing effort that included
EcoBoost torture tests and nationwide consumer test drives.
“Once they experienced the performance and the fuel economy, it was a real game changer,” said Sarkar.
Today, trucks equipped with EcoBoost account for more than 40 percent of F-150 retail sales.
Scott says he believes the secret to the success of EcoBoost and F-Series trucks in general is steeped in the team’s laser focus on customer wants and needs.
“We play offense not defense,” he said. “We don’t think about what the other guys are doing but rather what we know is right to do next.”
The proof is in the product, says Levine.
“There’s a clear durability story that makes the customer want to come back because they know our trucks live up to the name Built Ford Tough®,” he said.