It is a fact, the next F-150 will be made of aluminum. While Ford designers and promoters are over the moon about this purported advancement in truck manufacturing, not every pickup fan is feeling the love. In fact, as CEO of 5W PR Ronn Torossian points out, the new design and supposed upgrade has triggered a chain of PR hurdles for Ford to overcome.
When the F-150’s new feature was first announced, conventional PR wisdom decided that the new shell design would be the sticking point of the redesigned F-150. The thick, heavy steel frame which so many truck guys love about the F-150 will be replaced with a lighter aluminum version. Ford claims that the aluminum frame will be equally sturdy to that of the steel frame while also offering vastly increased fuel efficiency. Will truck aficionados buy that selling line? While the jury is still out on that particular question, another PR issue looms large for Ford.
When Ford’s PR team announced their most aggressive new lineup of Ford updates, upgrades, and model improvements, pickup lovers across the country rejoiced. Who is not cheering? Dealerships coast-to-coast which are stuck with aging 2014 models that are, as of that announcement, obsolete. Of course, they may sell a TON of new Fords NEXT year, but with Ford’s sixteen new vehicle launches in 2015, most customers considering a new Ford are apt to wait for the new look.
It’s a problem familiar to that of the mobile device marketplace. The moment Apple or Samsung announces a new model, customers push pause on their desire to purchase the current model. Suddenly, retailers are faced with a conundrum. They have stacks of presently outdated stock that need to be moved, in order to make way for the latest and greatest models.
Torossian observes that it’s an interesting paradox for both the marketplace and for consumer public relations. On the one hand, discounts and fire sales associated with clearing out the old models can be a huge boon for cost-conscious consumers. However, if those incentives overlap the promotions for the new and exciting upgrades, the reasons to buy last year’s version can get lost in the cacophony of noise surrounding the latest and greatest.
It’s not a totally foreign challenge in the automotive industry, even for Ford. When the manufacturer released the new and classic inspired Mustang model a few years back, the glut of the old style model was massive. While flipping sports cars every few years is typical, truck fans are often in it for the long haul. Ron Torossian forecasts that the parallel PR campaigns Ford will have to run when it rolls out the new 2015 F-150 will be interesting to watch.