Sunday, November 26, 2006

...and get down with the young folks

It occurs to me that Ford may be better served by establishing a youth and fashion orientated brand on the lines of Toyota's Scion and BMW's Mini.

In 1999 the Marc Newson designed 021C concept was launched in a 'mosh-pit' (whatever that is!). At the same time there were indications that Ford would expand the Ka range as a sub-brand - the Puma, StreetKa and SportKa suggested that this was the company's next major marketing direction.

Somehow the idea withered and died in the years which followed, along with the delightful Puma, and, more happily, the StreetKa. At this moment, at least in Europe, Ford's inexpensive small car offering comprises the worthy but ancient Ka, and the current Fiesta, more an item of street furniture than an object of desire. PSA, Renault, Seat, and even GM do far better. Look worldwide and the Ford cupboard is full of possibilities:

  • Ford do Brasil's EcoSport - Appalling name, but who'd have thought a Ford Fusion could look so sexy?
  • The South African Ford Bantam pick-up. Based in the old Fiesta, but could be sold very cheaply, with lots of customisation options.
  • The 2006 Reflex prototype. Drop the hybrid powertrain and silly doors and sell it at Puma money. A convertible would be nice too...
  • And how about a surfer-orientated Transit Connect? Give it a surfwear designer label connection and some cool Microbus-inspired visuals and open a new market sector at almost no cost.

Apart from the Reflex it's all ready and waiting, and could be an easier route to profit than the PAG brands.

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