How is the 8 year-old design of the Ford Focus managing to outsell its domestic small car competitors when we are supposedly in a market where fuel efficient cars are in demand? With the next generation Focus close to release why are sales for the “old” design up 20-percent compared to last June, while the newer Cobalt, HHR, Aveo, Vibe and Caliber all taking a dive? Will the upgraded performance models of the HHR and Caliber SRT-4 turn their sales figures around in the coming year?
Those have to be the questions receiving heavy rotation within the marketing offices and board roams of the notorious Big 3: GM, Ford and Crysler. Is this the reason I cannot find room on the cheap flights going into Detroit in August?
It certainly does not hurt the Focus that as this final production year winds down for the aging design that Ford has some extra money to throw toward some buyers incentives. Finding a $2500 incentive on a car already selling inÂ the mid-to-highÂ teens would be a huge plus for any shopper interested in the small car market. These same low pricesÂ are also doing a job of enticing some buyers away from the more expensive Japanese brands who are considered by many the leaders of the small car market. In fact it was the Japanese auto makers who made the small car market what it is today when they were introduced to the American market in the 1970’s during another time of oil crises.
Just as the big truck and SUV were the marque markets in the 90’s and early in this decade it is the small car, fuel efficient market that will be garnering greater attention as this decade comes to a close. The Big 3 may not revel in the same price mark-up they enjoyed from the SUV sales as they will with the small car sales, but they better find a way to market them to the American buyer. If the other spokes of the Big 3 cannot find a way to sell like the Focus is and if Ford fails to maintain those sales with the new design they may be looking for a new moniker by which to refer to themselves.
Do you have any suggestions on how GM and Chrysler could better market their small cars? I am certain at this point they would be willing to listen to any valued suggestions.