Ever the social media maven among automakers, Ford has done it again. The Detroit Free Press reports that Ford has produced an application for Facebook entitled Plug N Play in Electric City with the 2012 Focus Electric. The app allows consumers to take a virtual trip in a Focus Electric, with the hope that it gives people an eye to buy.
Augmenting the Ford experience
Ford’s head of global marketing, sales and service, Jim Farley, believes that Ford’s social media presence has helped put the automaker a step above the competition when it comes to market penetration among tech savvy drivers. Ford revealed its current Explorer on Facebook, and it hyped the Fiesta long before it went on sale in the U.S. By all reports, both social media campaigns have been successful.
With Plug N Play in Electric City, Ford seeks to leverage the marketing power for Facebook and draw additional attention to the reality programming it has designed with the help of Yahoo. The programming, which will begin streaming in May, pits teams against one another in a scavenger hunt. Teams use Focus Electric vehicles to travel to and from hunt locations.
Solving a slow roll-out problem
The $40,000 2012 Ford Focus Electric went into production in December, but since then, only about a dozen have sold in the U.S. Ford’s efforts to pit the Focus Electric against the Nissan Leaf and the upcoming Fiat 500 in the EV field can use a boost, said Farley. With plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius rounding out the field, the Focus Electric and plug-in versions of the Ford C-Max and Fusion will have a tough road ahead, experts predict.
There is a distinct possibility that automakers may continue to perfect gasoline engine technology for a while, as electric vehicle sales have been sluggish across the industry. General Motors even stopped making Volts for a month to keep production and inventory in line. For the time being, Ford is investing its development dollars into direct-injection and turbocharging technology, without shuttering production of EVs completely.