DEARBORN - Philanthropic organizations hurt by the bad economy are seeking ways to spend less to achieve their goals.
Ford Export and Growth (E&G) recognizes that a vehicle represents a significant financial investment, says Landon Tucker, aid and development fleet manager, and is reaching out to organizations that specialize in humanitarian efforts. “We know they have budgetary considerations, so we’re trying to address the needs of the organizations by offering them peace of mind, letting them know that buying a Ford is the right decision.”
To get the word out, E&G is participating in several humanitarian aid conferences and exhibitions designed to help people within the aid and development community meet suppliers of vehicles and other products used in relief and development efforts.
“We want to show governmental and non-governmental organizations that we have a full line of vehicles that can meet their needs,” Tucker says.
The aid side of aid and development tends to receive the most attention, as people recognize the need to assist areas affected by natural disasters. And Ford Motor Company is well-known for providing vehicles and financial assistance when disaster strikes.
But, Tucker notes, relief organizations have needs that go beyond the immediate response. “These organizations stay when the news crews go away. Not only do they have to reach areas where a disaster has occurred, they use their vehicles to deliver food and medicine and to carry supplies used in construction and rebuilding infrastructures.”
On the “D” side of A&D, humanitarian organizations help developing regions grow. In addition to transportation, Tucker says, vehicles might be used in mining operations, for example. In both aid and development efforts, vehicles may be modified to meet a variety of needs.
“Our two authorized distribution partners, Global Fleet Sales and Kjaer and Kjaer, have divisions that adapt our vehicles for use as cargo carriers, ambulances and maintenance vehicles, adding such things as additional suspensions, off-road tires and auxiliary gas tanks to enable them to reach remote areas.”
Both companies modify and service Ford vehicles used in humanitarian aid, relief work, development projects and peace-keeping services around the world.
Ford is committed to the aid, safety, health and quality of life of those in need. The company has a full line of vehicles capable of enduring the toughest conditions and offers an industry-leading vehicle warranty.
With the type of work being done, it’s not surprising that the aid and development industry is dominated by pickups and SUVs, although Tucker notes more customers are becoming interested in the versatility of vehicles like the Ford Transit.
Firm figures for the size of the market are not available, but it’s estimated to be around 35,500 vehicles annually. Ford’s share of that is moving in the right direction. Its A&D sales were up 23 percent year-over-year from 2010 to 2011. Historically the market has been dominated by Toyota – something Ford is endeavoring to change, with some success, Tucker says.
Ford recently signed a five-year contract to provide vehicles to the United Nations Peacekeeping Division and also has a three-year contract with the U.N. Operations Procurement Services. “The contract we have with the U.N. Peacekeeping Division was held by Toyota for more than 30 years, so we’re particularly pleased to be forging a relationship with them.
“This is part of Export and Growth’s strategy to Go Further and become more global,” Tucker says. “Our goal is to grow brand awareness and consideration by going into new areas and gaining a foothold. As these markets mature, the expectation is that people will recognize the Ford brand in the marketplace and consider us for their next vehicle.”