SEOUL – In meetings with media and influentials recently in Seoul, Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally reinforced Ford’s commitment to South Korea, highlighting aggressive plans to launch new products, increase investments to build brand awareness and grow sales.
“Ford is a growing company operating in a growing global automotive market and South Korea represents a key opportunity,” Mulally said. “Our growth plan reflects Ford’s commitment to provide South Korean customers with a full family of best-in-class products and a retail experience that is second to none.”
Ford has a multi-faceted plan to grow its business in South Korea, including an unprecedented number of new product launches, introductions of fuel-efficient engine technologies, significant investments in marketing resources, valued cost of ownership actions and dealer network expansion.
Unprecedented Product Momentum
Ford is launching six all-new or significantly refreshed products in 2012, including refreshed Taurus, Taurus SHO and Mustang models, and all-new versions of the Escape, Fusion and Focus Diesel.
Lincoln also launched a refreshed Lincoln MKS this year, and will introduce an all-new Lincoln MKZ in early 2013. Earlier this week, Ford announced plans to bring Lincoln to China in the second half of 2014, as it looks to grow the premium brand’s presence in markets outside the United States. Lincoln has been sold in Korea since Ford entered the market in 1996 and represents approximately 30 percent of Ford’s sales in the country.
“This year represents our most aggressive year ever for new product launches in South Korea,” said Jae Jung, president, Ford Korea. “Each of these new products will offer fuel efficient engines ranging from EcoBoost to hybrid and diesel technology, which we are expecting to be extremely relevant to savvy South Korean consumers.”
Fuel-Efficient Technologies Give Customers the ‘Power of Choice’
Ford launched its first hybrid vehicle in South Korea – the Fusion Hybrid – in February, and will launch its first diesel in December, when the new Focus diesel arrives in South Korea.
Additionally, Ford is expanding availability of its EcoBoost engine family throughout its lineup.
Delivering up to 20 percent better fuel economy than conventional engines, EcoBoost uses smaller overall engine size combined with turbocharging and gasoline direct injection to bring customers the power they want and the fuel economy they need.
This year, Ford is introducing two new EcoBoost engines in South Korea:
• A 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine available in the all-new Escape and all-new Fusion
• A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine available in Explorer, Taurus, the all-new Escape and all-new Fusion
“EcoBoost uses much of the same technology as today’s modern diesel engines, such as turbocharging and direct injection, but for a much lower cost to the consumer. As a result, EcoBoost is the cornerstone of Ford’s ‘green’ strategy here in South Korea and around the world,” said Jung.
The new EcoBoost engines join the 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine Ford introduced last year in the high-performance Taurus SHO. By 2013, Ford plans to offer EcoBoost technology on 90 percent of its vehicle offerings in South Korea.
“With the addition of new hybrid and diesel technologies, and the expansion of EcoBoost offerings across its lineup, Ford will offer the broadest selection of fuel-efficient engine options within the import industry in South Korea,” said Jung.
Increasing Marketing Resources in Korea
Ford plans to triple the level of marketing resources to support multiple new vehicle launches and its first brand campaign in South Korea, “Seoul to Soul.”
The campaign chronicles the experiences of 10 South Korean influentials and their unprecedented levels of access to Ford’s products and facilities at its Dearborn headquarters and the Dunton Test Track near London.
“Seoul to Soul is a unique brand campaign designed to capture South Koreans’ authentic reactions as they experience Ford cars and technologies in new and unexpected ways,” said Jung.
Ford is also providing unprecedented access to vehicles across its lineup by providing month-long vehicle loans to the 10 South Korean influentials participating in the campaign throughout the next four months. They will be given monthly missions to showcase how they are using the Ford vehicles in their day-to-day lives and highlight vehicle features and technologies to engage their followers.
In addition to the television commercials, Ford will be very active in digital rich media, social media and out-of-home activities throughout South Korea using technologies like QR Codes to engage consumers.
Ford Dealers Invest in South Korea Dealer Network
Ford’s dealers in South Korea are also committed to growing Ford’s presence throughout the country, investing more than 51 billion KRW (approximately 45 million USD) in network expansions in 2012 alone.
“Our two Ford dealers, Sunin Motors and Premier Motors, play a critical role in our growth strategy,” said Jung. “The level of investments being made in providing state-of-the-art facilities, convenient service and outstanding customer experiences is at an all-time high in South Korea.”
Fifteen sales and service facility actions are planned this year, with additional ones coming next year. In addition to providing outstanding consumer experiences, these investments will contribute to the South Korean economy – creating more than 130 new jobs.
Improving Cost of Ownership
Showcasing its strong commitment to quality and customer service satisfaction, Ford was the first automaker – import or domestic – to offer a best-in-class 5 year/100,000 kilometer bumper-to-bumper warranty on all vehicles sold in South Korea.
Following the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement earlier this year, Ford lowered prices on all vehicles sold in Korea by as much as 5.25 million KRW ($4,600 USD) and reduced parts pricing up to 35 percent on 161 of the highest-demand auto parts. This represented the largest price cut – for cars or auto parts – by any import brand in Korea.
Ford’s One Ford Plan in South Korea
Ford expects worldwide sales to increase by approximately 50 percent by mid-decade to about 8 million vehicles a year – with improved operating margins – as the company continues its One Ford plan to accelerate product introductions and expand quickly in growth markets, including South Korea.
Mulally’s visit underscores the important role South Korea plays in supporting the One Ford plan as the company expands its operations throughout the world.
“It is great to have such strong support from our CEO and Ford’s entire global management team as we seek to redefine and build the Ford brand here in Korea,” said Jung. “Ford has big plans for this market, and is more committed than ever to bringing class-leading products and technologies to Korean customers and providing them with a world-class ownership experience.”
Alan Mulally with 8 of 10 participants in Ford’s ‘Seoul to Soul’ brand campaign.
Alan Mulally speaking at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea.
Alan Mulally speaks to more than 350 students at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).