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Is Ford Mustang turning into a missed opportunity

Is Ford Mustang turning into a missed opportunity
Vikrant Singh Vikrant Singh Tuesday 16 August 2016, 13:19 PM

The Ford Mustang sold 35 units in July 2016, making it the best selling sportscar of the month in India. But, getting numbers from the Mustang isn’t part of Ford India’s strategy. Because if it were, we would have gotten the more fuel-efficient and politically correct EcoBoost version instead of the full-blown 5-litre V8 engined Mustang we have now.

 

The Mustang is here to make Ford a sexier and more desirable brand, which it was in fact not too long back; at least in the eyes of the enthusiasts. There was the Mondeo, the Fiesta 1.6S and even the older Endeavour had its own set of fans. But, then Ford tasted blood in the form of big sales numbers for the EcoSport. Soon enough it built a big factory in Sanand and launched the Figo twins (the Aspire though has now dropped the Figo suffix).

Sadly, it couldn’t replicate the EcoSport’s success. And understandably so. While the EcoSport was a pioneer and a segment starter, the Figo and the Aspire came into a segment dominated by car companies who have been playing the number games forever. The hatch and the compact sedan had the looks, the pricing and even the equipment to take on the best in class, but when you come into a crowded space, you must have that additional oomph factor to attract buyers away from the established norm.

Ford clearly needed a differentiator. And in came the Ford Mustang. We loved the way it drove and even the readers at large wanted to read more about the car. It seemed like the perfect carrot to draw more people into Ford showrooms and convert them into buyers. Not for the Mustang, mind.

So, the Mustangs are now displayed at various showrooms. But, do you hear about it? Is there any promotion whatsoever encouraging you to walk into a Ford dealership to look and feel the legend?  None. And that’s a problem. A bigger problem is the lack of interest in the showroom sales staff to talk about the car. Yes, it costs Rs 65 lakh. So, chances of prospect Mustang buyers stepping into the showroom are slim.

But, even for a Figo, Aspire or EcoSport buyer, the Mustang is a thing of aspiration. Imagine walking into the showroom and being taken towards this glowing yellow pony car and being walked through it. Being allowed to touch and sit in it; being told about its history and what it meant to enthusiasts and film folk alike; and then cranking it and letting them hear the glorious note of the V8. Telling them this is a Ford and as an extension what the company truly is and what it stands for.

Sure, there will be selfies, and the sales guy will have to spend an additional 20 minutes with the prospects. But, this connect and experience with the Mustang is bound to have a positive effect on the buying decision. I hope next I walk into a Ford showroom, the Mustang will get the family’s attention it deserves.

 

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