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DETROIT - Each year, Ford strives to make its display at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) engaging as well as informative, and this year is no different.
And while there are plenty of interactive exhibits, in-vehicle demonstrations and games for consumers to enjoy, one thing is clear: the products are the stars of the show. From small cars to large commercial trucks, the diversity of the Ford lineup provides a vehicle to suit every need.
Visitors to the Ford stand begin their experience with a special greeting from none other than “Henry Ford.” To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the company’s founding father, a variety of impersonators – depicting Ford from his youth through adulthood – are on hand to provide unique historical insight as well as present-day information on the Ford stand.
“In 1903, Henry Ford’s vision was to put the world on wheels and make affordable transportation available to the masses,” explained David Tillapaugh, Global Auto Show Operations manager. “The Ford impersonators share a bit of that history in a fun way and then highlight the present lineup.”
EcoBoost is one of the main themes at NAIAS this year, and the first thing that consumers see after entering the Ford area is an extensive array of cars, trucks and utility vehicles powered by EcoBoost engines.
“We display a complete range of vehicles from Fiesta to F-150, while showcasing that, unlike other competitors who dabble in environmental technologies but sell most of their volume in basic gas engine applications, Ford is committed as a company to turbocharging, direct fuel injection, better fuel economy and lower cost of ownership,” said Tillapaugh.
There are technology exhibits that walk consumers through all four EcoBoost engines – from the 1.0-liter 3-cylinder to the 3.5-liter 6-cylinder – as well as other activities to enjoy.
“You can even make your own ‘EcoBoostical’ soundtrack, save it, and then send it to yourself at home,” said Tillapaugh. “You sing a simple note and then it is synthesized into a greater sound track. It’s very interesting and very modern.”
In addition to EcoBoost-driven models, Ford’s electrified vehicles are showcased in a big way.
“Ford offers consumers the power of choice, and we have more models and more choices in the alternative electrified power space than any competitor,” said Tillapaugh. “We offer mainstream cars equipped with the latest technology and beautiful materials that are value-priced and offer great fuel economy.”
Five electrified vehicles are on display at NAIAS this year: the C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi, Focus Electric, Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi.
“We also have activations that complement the electrified vehicles such as charging stations where we show people how simple it is to charge the car at home and a new engagement for visitors called ‘Electric Detective’ where people actually become investigators, and the challenge is to go around the show and learn all they can about Ford’s lineup versus the competition then return and talk about what they found,” explained Tillapaugh. “And of course in every case what they find is that we lead the competition – whether it’s on range, fuel economy, value or features – and they are actually quite surprised.”
The continuing leadership of Ford trucks is a strong message at NAIAS this year.
“We have the best lineup in the industry with the 2013 F-Series trucks and this year we’ve introduced the new Atlas Concept, which is the centerpiece of the display and a teaser of what’s to come with F-Series in the future,” said Tillapaugh. “Ford never rests in this segment. We’re always going further, listening to our customers and developing something newer and better. In addition to being visually stunning, that’s the role that Atlas plays.”
There are also in-vehicle demonstrations complementing F-150 trucks, Super Duty and Raptor that highlight the feature content on the 2013 models as well as a smart table that showcases in-vehicle technologies across the lineup.
For the first time in Detroit, Ford has a commercial vehicle lineup on display at NAIAS.
“What we’re showing is that the people who perform vital roles in our communities – from police, firefighters and paramedics to storm and utility recovery personnel to people who work for charity organizations – rely on Ford to provide the vehicle and the platform they need to take care of their business,” said Tillapaugh.
Vehicles on display include commercial F-Series trucks, the sedan and utility Police Interceptors, the all-new Transit Connect and Transits.
“This is the way we introduce Transit in the retail world since it’s not a ‘showroom’ vehicle,” said Tillapaugh. “Everyday people who wouldn’t necessarily have an interest in buying a big van are still favorably influenced by the fact that Ford is providing help, support and equipment to people who do very important jobs.”
The other important message at NAIAS this year is that Built Ford Tough just got bigger.
“We have created a natural transition from F-Series into the new Transit lineup, showing consumers that Built Ford Tough now means F-Series and Transit,” said Tillapaugh. “The Transits come in an incredible number of combinations, so no matter what your needs are or what your industry or application, we have a Built Ford Tough unit that will do the job.”
And following its popularity last year, Ford is again offering visitors to NAIAS the opportunity to use the Ford Blue Oval card.
“When you arrive at the Ford display, you receive and register your personal card, and then save all the content that you generate during your Ford visit in your personal e-mail account so you can have it at home,” explained Tillapaugh. “You can save brochures, sign up for test drives, share information with other people, etc. You simply carry your card with you and wand it at various locations throughout the display.”
At the end of the day, Ford’s mission at NAIAS is to sell cars and favorably influence shoppers.
“If you’re visiting Ford because you already love Ford, then our job is to help you choose the right car, truck or utility that is best for you. If you’re not in that category then our mission is to convince you to stop and consider Ford in a new way so that you recognize and appreciate the value, the innovation, the quality that we’re bringing in our product line,” said Tillapaugh.