Could JWT Successfully Market The ECOnetic?

There’s a very interesting article in BusinessWeek entitled “The 65 MPG Ford the US Can’t Have” about the diesel-powered Ford Fiesta ECOnetic, which is going on sale in Europe.
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Here’s a brief excerpt from the article:

Ford plans to make a gas-powered version of the Fiesta in Mexico for the U.S. So why not manufacture diesel engines there, too? Building a plant would cost at least $350 million at a time when Ford has been burning through more than $1 billion a month in cash reserves. Besides, the automaker would have to produce at least 350,000 engines a year to make such a venture profitable. “We just don’t think North and South America would buy that many diesel cars,” says Fields.
The question, of course, is whether the U.S. ever will embrace diesel fuel and allow automakers to achieve sufficient scale to make money on such vehicles. California certified VW and Mercedes diesel cars earlier this year, after a four-year ban. James N. Hall, of auto researcher 293 Analysts, says that bellwether state and the Northeast remain “hostile to diesel.” But the risk to Ford is that the fuel takes off, and the carmaker finds itself playing catch-up—despite having a serious diesel contender in its arsenal.

I live in a huge traffic-clogged commuter city, so gas prices have naturally been a concern around here. But what really ticks me off is the idea that Ford thinks the demand isn’t there for a car like this. That’s a cop-out answer. I’ve seen more and more Smart Cars on the road and little foreign cars that are selling. Sure, some people will resist this in favor of big cars, but at least give them a choice.
So what’s really stopping Ford from even offering a car like this? The not-so-Big Three automakers are contemplating going to the government to get guaranteed loans. But if their best technology and best cars won’t be made available here in the U.S. because Ford thinks it can’t sell them, then screw ‘em–they don’t deserve a loan.
Ford needs help. Marketing help. Someone needs to go to Dearborn and tell these numbnuts that the public is looking for a solution–and if the technology is there to make a car that gets 65 MPG, people will buy it. Period. I’m not sure Ford’s long-time ad agency is capable of saying that.
But I do think JWT or a better agency, given the shot, could successfully market a car like this. Do you?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • kokomjolk

    I just got back from Switzerland not too long ago, and while I realize that Europe and America are very different places, I cannot tell you how many different (better) takes on models available in the US they have over there. Take the Focus for instance. My friends have a diesel version which not only makes the car more efficient, it also had a different design which made the car sleeker.
    I just wonder if they are afraid since they don’t know which way the government will go in pollution standards and maybe ban certain fuel types in favor of natural gas. But isn’t that why they have lobbyists…

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    Automobiles were made to run on diesel. And guess what, diesel is a fuel we can make from plants. Not rolling these cars off an American assembly line is stupid.