Ford has been burning the midnight oil for several years now, and its hard work is paying off. The automaker's One Ford philosophy has resulted in a slimmer product lineup, two fewer brands, and a healthy bottom line. Ford also boasts a much spiffier brand image among shoppers these days, thanks in part to the fact that the company avoided taking bailout money from the U.S. government during the recent recession.
But amid all that good work, and amid all the hype surrounding the company's Fiesta and Focus models, Ford's efforts on the electric front seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Luckily for hybrid and EV fans, it looks like that's about to change: Ford has now launched a Facebook page dedicated to its electric lineup.
At the moment, there's not a great deal of content on the page -- some discussions, two videos of the 2012 Focus Electric, a few dozen photos, and a poll. But since Ford is promising to launch "five new electrified vehicles" by 2012, more content is surely coming. Specifically, the page mentions the 2012 Focus Electric, 2011 Fusion Hybrid, 2011 Escape Hybrid, 2011 Transit Connect EV, 2013 C-MAX Hybrid, and 2013 C-MAX Energi.
The timing of this Facebook page launch is interesting, coming as it does (a) in the heat of the 2011 Geneva Motor Show press surge, (b) while the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2011 Nissan Leaf are still capturing headlines, and (c) before any of Ford's electric models are ready for showrooms. It seems like a quiet roll-out, one intended to pay off well down the line.
The launch also comes on the heels of a statement from Ford's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Lewis Booth, who expressed concern about the viability of electric vehicles, given the current economy. He doubts that governments will be able to offer ample subsidies on EVs to make them attractive to shoppers:
"Electric vehicles at the moment are still very expensive and have limitations. There is a question mark about how long governments can subsidise vehicles when they are under so much pressure from other funding issues.... Some of the sales projections... for electric vehicles are very ambitious because I am not sure how customers are going to be able to afford to pay."
We'll have more about that statement -- and some rebuttal -- later today. Stay tuned.
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New Ford Electrified Vehicle Facebook Page Engages Fans
- Ford has developed a Facebook page dedicated to educating consumers about the differences in electrified vehicle technologies and providing the latest information about the five electrified vehicles the company will introduce (www.facebook.com/FordElectricVehicles)
- Fans of the page can access assets – videos, photos, polls and announcements, join discussions about electrified vehicles and even direct questions to the engineers on Ford’s electric vehicle development team
- The Electrified Vehicle Facebook page is where Ford first teased information about the all-new Focus Electric reveal and showed live-streaming video of its reveal from the Consumer Electronics Show in January
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 23, 2011 – Ford has launched an Electrified Vehicle Facebook page to serve as a place where passionate enthusiasts or curious consumers can find and share information about the company’s electrified vehicles. The page, available at www.facebook.com/FordElectricVehicles, is part of Ford’s efforts to educate consumers on the variety of choices available with electrified vehicles and what the company is doing to make an electric lifestyle as easy as possible.
“People who are passionate about electrified vehicles or just interested in learning more about the technology are using the Internet as the source to participate in discussions or gather information,” said David Finnegan, Ford electric vehicles marketing manager. “Launching a Ford-specific Electrified Vehicle Facebook page allows us to create a forum for discussion and a place where we can interact with fans.”
The Ford Electrified Vehicle page for Facebook was developed to help consumers understand the differences between electricified vehicle technologies so they can make informed decisions about whether a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle fits their driving habits. The page also creates a place where consumers can initiate and participate in conversations around Ford’s electrified vehicle offerings and gives Ford a forum to respond to consumers who are interested in electrified vehicles.
“We’re committed to engaging in an ongoing dialogue with our fans in a way that provides value for the time they choose to spend with Ford online,” said Scott Monty, Ford digital and multimedia communications manager. “As we’ve proven with Fiesta Movement and the Explorer reveal on Facebook, it’s important to pay attention to what people are saying, and for us to be able to respond and provide a unique experience for them as well.”
The Electrified Vehicle Facebook page offers visitors links to videos and photos of Ford’s electrified vehicles, as well as a place to learn about the powertrains in each vehicle. There are areas for discussion between fans, along with user polls, a place where fans can direct questions to Ford’s electric vehicles team, and a calendar for upcoming events.
The Facebook page was used to tease the reveal of the all-new Focus Electric at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The reveal was streamed live on the page, along with video from the Ford display on-site.
“You never know what will pop up next on the page,” said Finnegan. “One day we could host a live discussion with an electric vehicle engineer, post the first information about Focus Electric orders or announce details surrounding a consumer contest. You’ll just have to friend the page and find out.”
Ford’s power of choice
Electrification is an important piece of Ford’s overall product sustainability strategy. Ford’s aggressive strategy includes the launch of five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010, will launch Focus Electric later this year and will introduce C-MAX Hybrid, a second next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012. The range of electrified vehicles allows Ford to meet a variety of consumer driving needs.