FORD FIESTA IN CHINAâ€”TARGETING â€˜â€˜MEIâ€™â€™ ORYOUNG, SINGLE, SPIRITED, URBAN WOMEN
Critical to the success of the Fordâ€™s marketing strategy in China is â€˜â€˜Meiâ€™â€™ (meaning beautiful in Chinese). Mei represents the twenty-something, single urban, college-educated female, who earns $880 to $1,500 a month and plans to buy her first car. This is Fordâ€™s target market for the rollout of the new Fiesta in China. Chinaâ€™s car market is the second biggest in the world (behind the United States). Yet, although passengervehicle sales rose almost 7 percent in 2008, sales of Ford brand cars dropped 10 percent. Ford hopes that the new Fiesta will halt the sales decline.
The new Ford Fiesta is the first of Fordâ€™s global car strategy that centers on the idea of selling car models worldwide in order to save on development costs and gain economies of scale. The new model was first revealed at the 2008 Geneva car show. Ford planned to launch the car first in Asia in 2009, then in Europe, and ultimately in North America. The new Fiesta has the same size as the old small-car Fiesta that was sold in Europe but it is lighter and more environmentally friendly with its high-fuel efficiency.
To prepare for the launch of the Fiesta in China, Ford ran an â€˜â€˜immersion eventâ€™â€™ that was designed to put senior Ford and ad agency executives in touch with the Mei target customers. During the event, these executives spent one afternoon with fifteen women in the Fiesta age group to get insights into their lives, attitudes, and goals. All of the women spent a lot of time on the internet.
Guided by the research findings, Ford developed an ad campaign to connect with its prospects that started in March 2009. The campaign centered on lifestyle magazines and the internet, with emphasis on social networking sites. The ads aspired to be edgy without being offensive. The ads featured attractive men and women, bright colors and hip music. A second campaign targeting Meiâ€™s parents focused on the Fiestaâ€™s safety.
The research also underlined differences between Chinese and European consumers: Chinese car buyers want more options so that they can personalize their vehicles. As a result, Ford decided to offer four color combinations on the Fiesta in China, compared to just two in Europe.