Consumers Are Raving About Ford

Since the depths of our recent recession, Ford (NYSE: F  ) and General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) emerged with two very different brand images. The latter could be forever tarnished as whispers of "Government Motors" will remain for years, while its crosstown rival Ford has been cheered as the hero automaker that didn't take taxpayer money in a government-structured bailout. That positive image for Ford, and its recent launches of new vehicles, have won over the American consumer.

Buzz-worthy
In today's information age, where we're constantly bombarded by advertisements, some of the best impressions we get are still from those we trust – word of mouth from friends and family.

In a survey by BrandIndex, Ford ranks No. 1, and it competitors aren't even close. The BrandIndex methodology is simple yet effective in determining public perception of brands. The survey asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, and was it positive or negative?" Here's how the results ended up:


Information via BrandIndex mid-year survey.

Ford pretty much dominated the field, backing up previous notions that word of mouth about Ford's better vehicles and brand image is still riding high with American consumers. It should be noted that the two most improved scores from the same time period last year are Chevrolet and General Motors. That doesn't mean that America is ready to forgive GM, it just means you can only fall so far – consider that last year's GM score was 0.1 and now it sits at 4.3, according to BrandIndex.

With such positive word of mouth, and better vehicles to boot, you can expect to see Ford's retention of customers surge as well:


Information via R.L. Polk & Co

Ford is the only brand to break 60% in the first quarter; if consumers keep coming back, spreading the positive word to friends, it will become a virtuous cycle for the company. I'd bet that it's a good reason that Ford's market share increased by a full percentage point this year in the U.S. market – more than any other full-line automaker. A percentage point doesn't sound like much, but in an industry where a fraction of a percentage point is huge, this is big news for Ford and its investors.

Bottom line
American consumers are raving about Ford – that's evident in just about any survey out there. It's also evident in sales gains, profits, and in the increase of returning customers. If Ford continues down this path it could very well surpass General Motors for the sales lead in the U.S. market – where the companies derive a majority of their profits.

Even better, if Ford can replicate this success overseas, then it could spell out a very great success story through the rest of this decade. Ford's market share and sales are exploding in China, and it's gaining market share and sales volume in Europe where the overall market is still tanking. There's a ton of momentum right now for Ford and it looks to get better with a strong second-quarter report on deck next week. If you're worried you missed the boat on Ford I think there's still plenty of room to run for the company and its investors.

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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (6)

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  • Report this Comment On July 18, 2013, at 4:17 PM, richmacmf wrote:

    GO FORD! gm is proof positive that even union fools can do good things with $60 billion of government money and gift ownership.

  • Report this Comment On July 18, 2013, at 5:39 PM, lilguy5902 wrote:

    The media and other leftist elites will start to go after Ford in the very near future. I hope Ford is ready for this assault.

  • Report this Comment On July 18, 2013, at 6:00 PM, AmericanFirst wrote:

    Daniel,

    You got it right!

  • Report this Comment On July 18, 2013, at 7:54 PM, guysisson wrote:

    I work on all makes of vehicles for a living and can tell you that Ford is currently making the best vehicles on the market. GM quality has dropped considerably since the bankruptcy. It is no wonder that Ford is doing so well.

  • Report this Comment On July 19, 2013, at 9:37 AM, E85Prices wrote:

    Ford would have closed because it wouldn’t have been able to get parts, because the parts industry in this country was in arguably worse shape than the assemblers,” Rattner said today at the Center for American Progress in Washington.

    Rattner, now chairman of the Willett Advisors LLC investment firm, led the $63.4 billion bailout in 2009 of GM and Chrysler, which he said would have fired all their workers and ceased to exist without the bailout.

    President George W. Bush, who preceded Obama, “did the right thing” by beginning the bailout process, giving $17.5 billion to GM and Chrysler in 2008, Rattner said.

    The auto bailout has been a point of contention in the presidential race between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney as they compete for votes in swing states including Ohio, home to U.S. automaker and parts-supplier plants. Romney opposed the government bailout.

    Ford’s View

    Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally last month made similar comments, saying he doesn’t regret testifying before Congress in support of taxpayer support for his competitors.

    “We think about that a lot, should we have gone back and testified on behalf of our competitors who were bankrupt,” Mulally told reporters Sept. 18 in New York. “I would do the same thing again today.”

    Mulally said he agreed with the assessment of “the economic advisers of the Bush administration and the Obama administration that if GM and Chrysler had gone into free fall, they could have taken the United States from a recession into a depression.”

    The U.S. government was the only entity that could save the domestic automakers because no one, including banks that were dealing with their own financial crises, was willing to put private capital into GM and Chrysler at the beginning of 2009, Rattner said.

    “If you can’t pay your workers, if you can’t pay your suppliers, if you can’t pay your electric bills, then you have to liquidate,” he said. “This is what government is set up to do.”

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