Did Ford get it wrong?

Philip Hunter.

Student ID Number 800624597

The Long Awaited Ford Mustang

Ford Australia announced to the public in August 2013 that it would be releasing a right hand drive version of the legendary Ford Mustang to the Australian and New Zealand Marketplace.

In 2015, Ford worldwide had produced 76,124 Mustangs in the first half of the year, securing their pole position as the most successful selling sports car world wide.  Allocations for right hand drive models were initially split across the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  Orders had topped over 3000 by sept 2015 in Australia, sending delivery dates out into 2017.  The UK market had committed to 2000 vehicles.

Ford’s marketing strategy appears to have worked well, targeting potential customers to commit to a purchase by taking orders for the vehicles prior to them being released, even prior to the pricing being confirmed.  Indications in 2015 were that “The Ford Mustang is priced from $44,990 to $63,990 plus on-road costs in Australia.”

With orders for right hand vehicles in excess of 5,500 vehicles, Ford underestimated how long these vehicles would take to produce, yet kept taking orders?

Marketing success or failure?

The outcomes of such a successful pre-purchase campaign, that included taking orders and deposits from customers, then failing to deliver, has surely disappointed many of its customers?

Success

For the customers that had been lured into being part of the brand’s new product, the wait was an exciting time.  Those first on the wait list started to receive their vehicles, and due to the failure of Ford to correctly anticipate the demand became the proud owners of a vehicle that was worth much more than they purchased it for.

Ford have succeeded in covering their bases for segmentation during their marketing campaign of the Mustang.  If we look at the Vals approach to lifestyle values segments, it appears that the product appeals to all three of the motivations.  Ideals people with their appetite for new technology, the achievement consumers, who buy products demonstrating their success and the self expressionists who are driven by risk taking. Ford have successfully appealed to both those thrill seeking Aussies of all ages with disposable income, who don’t mind a thumping V8 regardless of the fuel consumption, and the fuel conscious individuals who prefer the 4 cylinder turbo charged version, the car delivers.

Failure

Other customers not so connected to the vehicle after deliver took advantage of their new appreciating asset and on-sold the vehicles to other more loyal buyers, who were willing to pay more than Ford were selling them for.  Surely lost revenues from Ford’s intention to ‘keep the pricing competitive’ have backfired, losing millions in revenue?  Whilst this isn’t a failure in segmentation, targeting or positioning, it is a serious flaw in the 4 p’s when we consider vehicles being sold for up to 50% profit.  Their (Ford) promotional approach to pricing appears to have made the vehicle too affordable, losing some of the magic.  It appears mistakes were made during the competitive analysis when comparing other manufacturers placement of price versus value.

There is little comparative competition due to Holden not committing to selling the Camaro in Australia due as Holden and Chevrolet “does not forecast enough volume potential from markets including Australia, the UK and South Africa to support the investment in factory RHD Camaro production”.  Nevertheless Ford have priced too low, not kept up with supply leaving many customers disappointed post commitment and pre-delivery, and lost revenue.

Too little to late?

To keep up with the ongoing orders of the Mustang, Ford have diverted more vehicles to the Australian market for 2017, but will it be enough?  Will the fans keep coming, or will customer interest waiver once Holden return serve with their rumoured response, offering a wildly improved version of the Commodore SS for those who don’t want to wait any longer?  Time will tell…

 

 

 

 

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