New Tactics for Selling Cars to Younger Consumers

Car selling season is upon us and U.S. manufacturers hope to increase their market share. In particular, Ford is determined to make a success of its new subcompact car.  Part of the company’s strategy has been to train dealers on how to sell smaller vehicles. The other part of the strategy is all about marketing.

Ford is positioning its new Fiesta to compete against the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Nissan Versa. And the company is looking for the car to sell well in the following large urban areas: Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The Fiesta, already launched in Europe, is just the start of a product line change. Ford hopes that increasing  car sales (now at 38%) as a percentage of total sales will decrease its dependency on large trucks.

Writing for the Free Press, Brent Snavely reports that Ford is targeting Millennials with the Fiesta.  Consumers in this demographic, younger than age 30, will find themselves the focus of a social-​media campaign being managed by local dealerships. Ford dealers have been learning how to employ Facebook and YouTube techniques in the past few months.

All this is happening on the heels of the corporate social media campaign the company engaged in earlier this year. In his blog for the Harvard Business Review, Grant McCracken highlighted how the company gave “ 100 consumers a car for six months and asked them to complete a different mission every month." Their experiences were then documented on YouTube and earned  Fiesta 6.5 million YouTube views and 50,000 requests for information about the car.

Another unique feature of the Fiesta is that purchasers can have a custom graphic applied to the side of the car. The availability of this option shows that Ford clearly understands the desire of the target market to personalize their possessions.

If the Fiesta sells as well as Ford hopes, other car manufacturers may be offering new vehicle features and looking for creative ways to employ social media in their marketing efforts.

[Source: Snavely, Brent. “Ford Trains Dealers to Sell Subcompact.” Detroit Free Press. 5 May 2010. Web. 12 May 2010; McCracken, Grant. How Ford Got Social Marketing Right. 7 Jan. 2010. Web. 12 May 2010 ] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.