Surviving the black plague of global recession was no small task for the Ford Motor Company, but it emerged from the smoking crater in which companies like General Motors continue to wallow. The auto bailout may have kept other automakers afloat, but it did a great deal of damage to reputations in the process. Ford took the brave route and declined to accept Troubled Asset Relief Program money, and that move has paid off in respect from peers and consumers. Now Automotive News reports that that same respect has earned Ford the 2010 “Marketer of the Year” award from Advertising Age magazine.
Ford was in trouble like the all the rest
When dark economic times came to the automotive industry, Ford was as deep in the hole as many of its competitors. In 2008, the company lost $14.6 billion. However, “the brand that Henry built” didn’t give in to temptation like the rest of Detroit auto row. Turning down TARP funds was “worth more than $1 billion of coverage and customer interest,” said Ford marketing chief Jim Farley to Automotive News. “If I had to go out and advertise, it would be that kind of bill in paid media. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
‘$1 billion in free goodwill’
Ford’s refusal to take TARP funds helped its image, but Advertising Age didn’t give the company the 2010 Marketer of the Year award for what they chose not to do. Ford has earned its place as the number two automaker in United States sales. Ford’s 17 percent share of the automobile and light truck market through September places the company only behind General Motors in sales, but Ford’s reputation is light years ahead. A hot new version of the Fiesta and crackling advertising campaigns have boosted the automaker that has held the American imagination since the Great Depression. U.S. yearly sales increased 19 percent through September, nearly double the industry-wide increase of 10 percent, writes Automotive News. Ford’s $4.7 profit over the first half of 2010 is the largest increase over such a period since 1998.
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