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 Four Pillars Strengthen Ford Brand, Enhance Business

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DEARBORN - All of Ford’s new vehicles share a common thread. They deliver on the four pillars that form the bedrock of the Ford brand: Quality, Green, Safe and Smart.

Since the four pillars were defined in 2008, Ford has made great progress delivering great products that people want and value.

“Our vehicles are making a connection with customers both rationally and emotionally,” said
Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “Clearly the customer is benefitting from improvements in fuel economy and safety. At the same time, our new technology is truly exciting our customers by creating surprise and delight.”

In addition to exciting customers, Ford’s commitment to leadership in the four pillars is strengthening the Ford brand. Ford market research shows that over the past three years, potential customers’ associations with Ford on fuel economy, safety and innovation improved by 48, 26 and 55 percent respectively.

“It is those improvements in such important attributes of a vehicle that in turn drive improved favorability of the Ford brand itself – up 36 percent over the past three years – as well as purchase consideration of our vehicles – up 37 percent,” said Kuzak.

Kuzak says the availability of such a wide array of new features combined with “great looking” exteriors and interiors enables Ford to create exciting high series for vehicles, like SEL and Titanium for cars as well as Lariat and Platinum for trucks.

“Customers are choosing these series at a much higher rate than in the past because of the exciting looks and features,” he said. “And that provides the company with additional revenue and profits.”

Just as important as any individual technology or feature, however, is how quickly Ford continues to migrate them across global vehicle lines, says Kuzak.

“This is another example of the power of One Ford,” he said. “This approach enables us to own these features in customers’ minds and also makes for good business cases in introducing new technologies for both us and our supplier partners.”

Ford is delivering best-ever quality all around the world.

While customer concerns in North America – largely surrounding connectivity technologies – led to a drop in quality this year, Ford is getting back on track by addressing the issues through software updates and enhanced customer education.

“We’ve had five-consecutive years of improvement,” said Bennie Fowler, group vice president, Global Quality and New Model Launches. “We know how to deliver quality – we can move our quality to the next level.”

Ford is pursuing multiple technologies to find affordable ways to create safer, more eco-friendly and quality products, while achieving efficiencies that are quickly leading to fuel-economy improvements.

One important piece of Green technology that continues to generate excitement among Ford customers is the EcoBoost® engine, which is offered in seven North American vehicle lines.

“To think that the 3.5-liter EcoBoost would be at a take rate just above 40 percent of retail sales in the F-150 less than year after launch demonstrates the value customers see in the ‘and’ solution of both improved fuel economy and improved performance,” said Kuzak. “And we have demonstrated how EcoBoost will extend across our global lineup with 1.0-, 1.6- and 2.0-liter versions.”

Ford is a safety leader. The company has more Top Safety Picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as well as U.S. Government Five-Star Ratings of any automaker.

Ford continues to develop new safety technologies with an emphasis on protecting customers involved in crashes or helping avoid them all together.

This includes the development of intelligent vehicle technology that in the near future will allow vehicles to talk wirelessly with one another to reduce crashes and traffic congestion.

The company continues to deliver industry-leading technology solutions that make the driving and riding experience easier and more enjoyable and at a value to the consumer.

“Our commitment to technology leadership over five years ago was meant to both truly excite customers, and like everything else we do in developing our vehicles, strengthen our brand and lead to a better business,” said Kuzak.

Ford unveiled the Evos Concept car at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show as the company’s first truly “connected” vehicle. It is the culmination of Ford’s efforts to bring mobile technology into the car and represents a new vision for customer-focused and intuitive technologies.

The next generation of Ford products around the world will display many of the distinctive design ideas and advanced technologies showcased in Evos.



11/29/2011 12:00 AM