Currently reading: Ford to emphasise its Britishness
Ford is seeking to emphasise its Britishness in order to appeal to higher income households
Richard Bremner Autocar
1 min read
5 March 2014

Ford will promote itself as a British brand in the UK, as part of a so-called brand breakthrough strategy. The plan is part of a wider ambition to improve the Blue Oval’s image across Europe, and is being masterminded by global marketing boss Jim Farley.

"Ford has an opportunity in the UK that it does not have in the US, in that it can refresh itself in a patriotic way. In many ways it is the quintessential British brand," he said at the Geneva motor show. "It has been thought of that way for decades. We want to capture this spirit, although not by wrapping it in the flag like Mini or Burberry. It’s more about capturing the values of the new Britain in a contemporary and surprising way."

The broader object of this strategy is to improve the brand’s appeal, particularly among higher income households. "In the UK Ford still has a good reputation," says Farley, "but Volkswagen is gaining more traction."

Although he concedes that "the UK is quite sceptical about advertising," the aim is to create ads "with tension, that contain energy. They have to capture the Ford brand but be pithy and fresh." Farley reckons the Transit’s rock band van-of-choice record as a potentially rich seam of material, for example. 

The company is now in the early stages of developing a British-flavoured promotional campaign that will also include Instagram, and should break later in the year. 


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5 March 2014
Just a question but how is Ford a "quintessential British brand" when he was born with an Irish father and Belgian mother in the USA? Are Nissan and Honda British because they have plants in the UK???

While making it a "British Brand' seems like a good idea, not every market has fond memories of the 'empire' and could reflect negatively on Ford. Not everyone like to have the Union Jack or the Bulldog waved in their faces.

5 March 2014
Henry Ford, the Nazi-supporting, anti-Semite racist. Worth bearing in mind when trying to build a spirit of jingoism around the brand. It's an American brand whose profits go to America. It doesn't even build cars any more in the UK. That would, like it or not and with no judgment on the fact, make it foreign.

5 March 2014
Apart fom the fact that Ford is American, which people all over the world are acutely aware of. People won't suddenly rush to brand merely because Ford have changed its history - if they don't like Ford, they won't buy one, simple as that. Ford should build on its heritage and be proud of its origins, while many of its models are now global ones, so to think that a Focus or Fiesta is British is nonense, espcially when they have an American style influence in their looks. Or could this be the first stage in a step back from their One Ford strategy. The forhcoming new Escort certainly gives that impression.

5 March 2014
The first thing Ford need to do is take a long, hard look at their dealerships. At the moment the service they provide is, at best, poor and in my own experience downright awful. I don't relish going into full Victor Meldrew mode to get work done under warranty but when you're told that Ford's paintwork warranty is invalidated because you didn't ask it to be checked at the 2nd year service, which was one of the three services paid for by me as part of the original deal. It has been sorted, eventually,when the dealership agreed that it was a manufacturing fault but the chances of my buying another Ford are now minimal. It seems that if you're prepared to listen to service reception staff telling you absolute porkies to fob you off then you're Ford's ideal customer in Britain. I doubt they get away with that in the US.

5 March 2014
How much is Ford paying Mr Farley to realise this ? Any muggins can see that Ford has taken its core UK market for granted for years. Just look at the above comments Mr Farley. The Brits have seen the days of the Cortina eroded by Ford management over the years. Factory closures, comparative lack of competitive product (eg. exactly when is the new Mondeo arriving in the UK then ??), glacially slow product development (compared to VW) and a mediocre dealer network.

It's very easy. Forget the tub-thumping jingoism. The Brits, though tolerant, don't like having the p*** taken out of them. They are world famous at doing that themselves. Give them good product and UK-centric to prove you really care. Then they buy, then you can re-invest in the product and the network. VAG has been doing it for years and you can see the results.

5 March 2014
Culturally at least. When I was growing up the Cortina, Escort, Granada were generally perceived to be British cars. In my youth the cars lusted after by lads my age were Capri V6's Xr3i's, RS Turbos and Sierra Cosworths. BMW.s and Audis were niche old mens cars driven by retired solicitors.

5 March 2014
Sorry Ford, but sticking a faux Aston Martin grille on the front of your cars does not "Britishness" make ... Ford has, is and always will be an American car firm ... What is wrong with that??

5 March 2014
Ford has been intertwined with most British folks childhood or driving life at some point and they have been at the top of the sales charts for decades. I think that's the 'Britishness' part, no one's daft enough to suggest that the company is actually British. This campaign is pretty simple from Ford's perspective; celebrate that Brits love driving Ford cars and hope that sees off the sales advance of VW and Vauxhall.

5 March 2014
If Ford wish to increase sales in the UK, rather than paint their roofs red, white and blue Ford should cover them in Black Red and Gold.

5 March 2014
Sorry, Ford, but how can you claim to be British when you don't make cars here? Ford is less British than Jaguar, Landrover, Mini, Vauxhall, Nissan, Honda, Toyota and a plethora of smaller brand such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Lotus....
Ford may have been 'British' once, when Cortinas, Escorts, etc were made here - but Ford gave up any legitimate claim to be British when it closed it's British car plants and sacked its British workers.


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