2009 Ford Verve Concept Page 2

January 13, 2008

2009 Ford Verve

Ford's late start


Ford has gotten a late start in wooing this potentially huge audience. Honda, Nissan and Toyota have already made massive inroads with their Fit, Versa and Yaris models. General Motors, meanwhile, has showed off several potential products designed to woo Millennials with a mix of style and upscale features. Collectively known as the “triplets,” they could make it into production even before Ford rolls out a production version of Verve.


While this new generation of customers may expect more than their parents, it’s as important as ever to woo them over, since someone buying an entry-level model, like Verve, will eventually move up into more expensive cars, trucks and crossovers.


“Millennials will be the defining group of customers in the future, driving all types of consumer trends,” stressed Farley.


By Ford’s estimates, about 11,000 Millennials come of driving age, in the U.S., every day. So, while the group may have collectively accounted for only 19 percent of American drivers in 2004, that will surge to 28 percent by 2010. Hitting a home run with Verve will likely be critical to the struggling Ford’s future.


It’s all the more important to score with an entry into this rapidly expanding product segment. Small vehicles, in general, are expected to account for nearly half the global market, with demand soaring in the so-called “B-car” segment. Even in the U.S., Ford projects, sales will jump by 25 percent between now and 2012, to about 3.4 million annually.


Developing a product for this segment has traditionally been a challenge, and was often a money-loser in the U.S. market. To keep costs in line, Ford has consolidated operations between American and European product development teams, notes product chief Derrick Kuzak.


“These concepts demonstrate how leveraging our global strengths can yield attractive benefits for our customers in markets around the world,” he explains.


Verve will be the first new world car, but quickly followed by a replacement for the larger Focus. By 2012, says Ford CEO Alan Mulally, virtually all Ford products will be developed on a global basis, but for those, like the F-Series pickups, for which demand is localized to specific markets.


2008 Detroit Auto Show Coverage by TCC Team (1/6/2008) Ford F-150, Hyundai Genesis and Corvette ZR1.

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