Ford launched its ‘One Ford’ market plan in 2006, which has pushed Ford to build global models that can be sold around the world by “people working together as a lean, global enterprise for automotive leadership.” Within the auto industry, globalization of their product allows for the sharing of platforms – the basic foundation on which cars are built – by the same company manufactured all over the world.
Ford Auto Company, one of the fifth largest automakers, currently has manufacturing operations worldwide, including in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and South Africa. Its top market is China, followed closely by Europe, with the United States coming in third. Ford’s globalized breakthrough in manufacturing also translates across to their globalized marketing campaign.
Focusing specifically on the evolution of their marketing strategy for one specific vehicle, the Ford Focus, a shift in the advertising strategy mirrors the shift in manufacturing. Ford launched the Ford Focus in 1998 in both Europe and North America, and it eventually became the world’s best selling model in 2012. The 2012 Focus was a globally manufactured car, the first in the line of Ford One vehicles, and was deemed to be the first truly global product because it was created from scratch to share as many parts as possible wherever it is built or sold. For the very first time, this car was manufactured with only one advertisement campaign. According to Vice President of marketing, Jim Farley, “The last time we launched a car, we had eight.”
This change could be a product of the globalization of qualities that all of the growing markets deem important. They are shifting towards a market interested in sustainable energy and better gas mileage, as well as advanced technology that is usually only available in more expensive vehicles. The move compact size of the vehicle also is more desirable among multiple markets. Only three years ago they had multiple marketing agencies determining the best advertisement and production strategy, but now their goal is to come more integrated and collaborative on a global level. It hopes to build a consistent brand position across its regional markets.
Or, is this change in strategy a reflection of the homogenization of cultures? It assumes that within the global consumer interplay all the markets can be addressed with the same advertisement, and are therefore no longer unique or require customization. With this formulaic manufacturing and advertising method Ford is either at risk of becoming just another generic company that pays because it doesn’t address its different consumers, or its markets around the world really have become homogenous products of globalized consumers.
Watch commercial ad-campaign here: 2012 Ford Focus Advertisement