Ford Prepares for Online Rush Led by F-150 Shoppers This Holiday Weekend

   Ford Prepares for Online Rush Led by F-150 Shoppers This Holiday Weekend

PR Newswire

DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 26, 2013

DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

  oF-150 expected to drive increased Internet activity this holiday for Ford;
    online sales leads increased 17 percent on "Black Friday" last year,
    including a 22 percent jump for F-150
  oFord's digital promotions, which kicked off last week as customers try to
    get an even earlier start to shopping, have more than doubled to 50
    percent of the holiday advertising mix since 2011
  oFord vehicle sales from online sales leads now account for nearly one
    quarter of all retail sales
  oVehicle maintenance is an important holiday errand, as customers bought
    nearly twice as many tires from Ford dealers on Black Friday last year
    than the next best-selling day

This weekend is known as the start to holiday shopping. What may be less known
is that Ford also expects foot and screen traffic to increase as customers
research new auto purchases online and service their current vehicles at
dealers across the country.

Ford expects this holiday weekend to be particularly busy for dealer websites.
In 2012, Ford's total online leads jumped 17 percent on "Black Friday"
compared to a typical Friday in November. F-150 leads alone jumped 22 percent
that day.

"Ford embraced digital dealer opportunities early and today is uniquely
positioned to turn online interest into a dealer visit – whether it's to
purchase a vehicle, or for service or maintenance," said Ron Merbler, digital
manager, Ford enterprise digital solutions. "Accessing content via mobile
screens is key to how Americans buy vehicles now, and the Thanksgiving
shopping weekend provides an opportunity for us to engage them while they're
already shopping.

"You may think of it as gift-shopping season, but it also is the perfect time
for all facets of our business to come together for our dealers and the
company as a whole," added Merbler.

Ford pioneered a digital dealer strategy in 2000 and has seen online sales
leads increase significantly the past few years. Online sales now make up
nearly one quarter of Ford's total retail sales.

FordDirect – a first-of-its-kind joint venture between Ford Motor Company and
its dealers – helps dealers digitally connect to consumers, and has grown to
offer a variety of digital tools such as website development, traffic
generation, social media management and consumer marketing services.

Almost every Ford dealership uses FordDirect services, such as mobile and
desktop website solutions, digital advertising, new and pre-owned vehicle
marketing services, and social media and reputation management.

The extended Thanksgiving holiday week also is expected to see an increase in
dealership service visits nationwide. Last year, "Black Friday" was Ford's No.
1 day for tire sales – nearly double the next leading day of the year.

Online migration

The process of buying a vehicle today is dramatically different from what it
was even 10 years ago, with consumers turning online to research before they
buy.

According to Google Trends, Ford F-Series is the most-searched vehicle on
Google this November, and has been in the top 10 the last 118 months. Eric
Peterson, F-150 marketing manager, said Ford's targeted truck customers
research vehicles about 30 percent more than average shoppers, and are engaged
more in discussions on message boards and forums.

"These customers gear more of their digital lives to work – which includes
trucks as key tools – as they are twice as likely as others to own two or more
smartphones and three times as likely to use them for work," said Peterson.

When Rich Savino, principal of All American Ford in Old Bridge, N.J., first
opened his dealership, he used digital marketing to establish his local
identity and drive customers to his store, which was in a more remote
location. Even though his dealership is now located in a higher-traffic area
in Hackensack, Savino remains focused on digital marketing.

"Buying a car is largely an in-person transaction by necessity. But I can use
digital marketing to reach customers online during major shopping occasions
like 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday'," said Savino. "I use a variety of
tools including coupons, direct email deals and website coupons. It puts
visiting my dealership into consideration for consumers when they're already
in a shopping mindset."

FordDirect's services include identifying customers potentially in the market
for a vehicle or service for promotional offers or follow-up calls for service
appointments.

For example, previous targeted one-to-one marketing campaigns, such as the one
planned for Thanksgiving weekend, have yielded a 20 percent to 30 percent
increase in sales and service. These campaigns also integrate Ford's national
campaigns to the dealership level by posting on behalf of the dealer on social
media channels and adding assets and banners on all dealership websites.

Auto shopping trends

Like many retailers, Ford got a jump on holiday advertising this week to
promote vehicle and tire sales deals. And the campaign will extend through the
first week of December because of the longer-term car-buying process. Ford is
significantly increasing its focus on attracting online shoppers as digital
holiday advertising has more than doubled to 50 percent of the mix since 2011.

"Ford has been ahead of the curve on digital advertising, and has been able to
break through the clutter with fun content delivered to where customers are at
any given moment," said Dave Finnegan, retail communications manager, Ford
marketing communications. "We expect to do well again this holiday season even
though there are so many companies vying for attention."

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company(NYSE: F), a global automotive industry leader based in
Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six
continents. With about 180,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the
company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides
financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information
regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit
http://corporate.ford.com.

SOURCE Ford Motor Company

Website: http://www.ford.com
Contact: Ron Hall, 313.248.1708, rhall192@ford.com, or Wes Sherwood,
313.390.5660, wsherwoo@ford.com