The Right Foot Down team sat down with Max Boomer (what a great name) Zone Manager – Retail Market Strategy. That title translates down to an important point, Mr. Boomer has a pulse on what enthusiasts want and what customers might want in the future. First up, the Fiesta ST and its huge sales success. Max told RFD that Ford recognized a gap in the segment and capitalized. The Fiesta ST was a car that could bring the best of both worlds, an enthusiast car you can convince your significant other is actually a practical, and economical, daily driver.
Next our short attention span turned to a white California Special Mustang nearby. Ford just released the California Special package for the latest generation Mustang this year (2016): it adds 19-inch black aluminum wheels, a black spoiler, darkened taillight trim, black-painted mirrors and hood vents. RFD doesn’t talk about a Mustang and not bring up the Mustang GT350R. The track rat Mustang. Production of the holy grail Mustang started in November of 2015 and the initial run of 15 GT350s and 15 GT350Rs sold immediately. Shocker. If you can’t find one currently, don’t worry, Mustang fans can expect production to continue through 2017.
Even though it’s not an enthusiast model we had to ask about O.J. Simpson’s favorite car, the Ford Bronco. Mr. Boomer won’t say if Ford is going to produce the Bronco, but the RFD team is betting on the fact it will happen. Mr. Boomer told us that there is a strong market for the Bronco. Unfortunately, that strong market is being dominated by Jeep and Ford would love a slice of that pie. Mr. Boomer even mentioned that there could even be room for a performance variant, if its produced, for the Bronco. FORD BRONCO RS? YES PLEASE.
Somehow the RFD overlooked the elephant in the room, the all new Ford F-150 Raptor. Mr. Boomer told us that the F-150 Raptor is all new. It’s also 500 pounds lighter thanks to an all aluminum chassis, and a new 3.5-liter V-6 Ecoboost engine—down in size from 6.2-liter—but will be quicker due to it’s weight loss. Basically the Ford F-150 Raptor, in the words of Ken Block, is a “hoonicorn.”
Next Right Foot Down sat our “right cheek down” with Erica Klampfl, Ford’s Global Mobility Manager, in a Ford Transit Van to discuss mobility and how Ford plans to continue people get from point A to B even if it’s not with…wait for it…cars. Even though the RFD staff wishes Ford would only produce the Ford Focus RS and Ford Mustang GT350R, Ms. Klampfl explained to our one track minds why Ford wants a diverse lineup of cars and other forms of mobility.
Since Ford cannot predict the future, Ford will bring the “power of choice” to customers, regardless of mobility needs, anyone can get anywhere they want to go with Ford’s help. To Ford there will not be a “silver bullet” to solve our mobility issues in the future. With cities world-wide growing at a rapid rate, our mobility needs are changing, and this is what Ford is doing to address it.
Ford is diversifying it’s brand, and recognizing that the future may mean less vehicles on the road—so they are becoming more than just a vehicle sales company. A car sharing pilot is happening in London using the electric Focus and 1.0-liter EcoBoost Fiesta. Even on Ford’s home turf a ride sharing pilot is happening at Ford’s campus in Dearborn, Michigan. So you have to ask the question: Can a 100 plus year old car company covert to a technology and mobility company?
Ms. Klampfl was confident in Ford’s ability to solve the future mobility problems. “Ford has been in the game for a long time.” Erika tells the RFD team. “Ford was first car company at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the first company with Sync and are leaders in the community.” Good enough for me.
Thank you Ms. Kampfl and Mr. Boomer for your time and talking with the RFD team.