It’s not surprising to hear that 2021 will be one of the biggest years in Ford’s history, or at least over the last decade. With four new nameplates entering Ford showrooms, expanded services for fleet and retail customers, and increasing availability of accessories, the message at its annual dealer meeting was clear – Ford is poised for growth.
“We know 2021 is going to be a significant year for our North American business and our dealers,” said Mark LaNeve, vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “We are going to grow in 2021. This is the year we have been building toward.”
The three-day Built For America-themed meeting, held virtually this year with approximately 8,000 dealer staff attending, wrapped Thursday afternoon. This meeting is an annual platform for Ford leadership to share future products, initiatives and strategies, and to interact with dealers. The meeting is open to all 3,100 Ford and Lincoln dealers in the U.S.
One rumor that is circulating that leaked out from this meeting that Ford envisions the Bronco nameplate being its own standalone brand eventually, leading to dealers selling Ford, Lincoln and Bronco. That is unconfirmed and nothing more than here say, but that’s one thing that churned out from this meeting.
Also there’s talk of a Bronco pickup truck coming in a couple years and that would make sense too since Jeep launched the Gladiator pickup. Ford’s small truck, slated to fall below the Ranger in the lineup and size, named the Maverick, is coming to Ford’s lineup and Ford has all but admitted that in their press release stating: “Ford is welcoming four all-new nameplates in 2021 – Bronco, Bronco Sport, Mustang Mach-E and a not-yet-named vehicle that will fill a whitespace in the market.”
New Vehicles For Ford in 2021
The above mentioned new vehicles are re-energizing dealer showrooms helping Ford grow its market share. By this time next year, Ford expects these four new nameplates will outsell its entire previous sedan portfolio.
For those who say Ford has made a mistake getting rid of their sedans, Ford feels otherwise and may provide if the sales pan out as they expect.
With a sold-out First Edition, all-electric Mustang Mach-E customer deliveries begin next month. Mach-E enables Ford to reach a whole new set of customers and usher in an exciting electrification era for the company. Plus, Mustang Mach-E brings the ability for customers to begin their purchase online. Those who have submitted a retail order online will be invited to a cart and checkout experience allowing them to see transparent products and pricing available at the dealer network.
The all-new F-150 shipping soon, will put Ford in a position to further expand its leadership in the truck segment. For the F-150 reveal, millions tuned in to see what was coming and more than half a million visited the launch website in the first week alone.
Bronco Sport is making its way to dealerships now and will be followed by Bronco two- and four-door next summer. During the conference, Ford also covered the customer handling processes for the more than 190,000 reservations for the two- and four-door Bronco.
Expanded services for dealers
To better serve used car customers, Ford is launching an all-new used vehicle platform and brand, Ford Blue Advantage, as a digital marketplace aimed at maximizing use of digital technology and the scale of its 3,100 dealers.
Ford will share more details about the new program in the first quarter of 2021.
FordPass Rewards, part of Ford’s ever-evolving customer experience initiative, is a customer loyalty program that is now 5.5 million members strong, delivering a value of $441 million in points and $57 million in redeemed points.
In benchmarking other best-in-class loyalty programs, Ford found a common element of the top engagement programs was the separation of customer rewards into tiers. Research determined that enabling customers to climb the ladder of a loyalty program and earn greater rewards had a significant impact on their engagement, satisfaction and loyalty.
Now FordPass Rewards is preparing to launch experiential tiers with three membership levels. Members will be able to earn their tier level by buying and servicing their vehicle, purchasing accessories, or simply by having a FordPass Rewards Visa card in their wallets.
Increased customization for Ford vehicles
A hot trend right now in the auto industry is the consumer demand for customization. Consumers want to build their vehicle exactly the way they want. This is evident by the grousing and griping of some Bronco enthusiasts who want certain color tops with certain interior colors. When they can’t it their way, they gripe. And with price tags skyrocketing, I think they’re entitled to customize their vehicle as they want.
Ford even sent out a survey to Bronco enthusiasts asking for their input and ranking the options that were most important.
As a result of this, Ford continues to increase its customization options. Currently, Ford is prepared to offer 149 accessory products ready at launch for Bronco Sport. And more than 200 accessories will be ready to go when Bronco two- and four-door models arrive next year.
Now Ford is preparing to launch for all 2021 model year vehicles dealer-installed options. As plant complexity decreases, these options give dealers the opportunity to add accessories to vehicles they order for inventory. Options will appear on the window sticker and the accessories will be delivered to the dealer for installation on location.
“For the rest of our lives, we can look back on 2020 and know that no matter what got thrown at us, we worked together to overcome it and we succeeded – together,” said LaNeve. “Next year also will challenge us, but seriously, after this year I’m confident there is nothing we can’t do.”
All of this is a great and exciting way to kick off the Jim Farley era at Ford. Farley vowed to take Ford in an exciting direction. He’s certainly taking chances, including putting the Mustang name on an electrified crossover. But he’s also overseeing the exciting launch of the Bronco Brand. The sky is the limit when it comes to those vehicles. I do see future iterations of this vehicle hitting the market.
Now do I believe it will be its own standalone brand like Lincoln? No I don’t think. That seems like an expensive and unnecessary endeavor for Ford. But, who knows honestly. The sky is the limit, it would seem.
What say you? How excited are you about the future of the Ford Motor Company? Leave me a comment below.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.