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Ford Unveils Interactive Strategy That 'Connects' With Consumers

13 January 1999

Ford Unveils Interactive Strategy That 'Connects' With Consumers
    DETROIT, Jan. 12 -- Using its new exhibit at the North
American International Auto Show as a backdrop, the Ford Motor Company
today unveiled "The Connection" -- a broad interactive program
designed to meet the transportation needs of consumers.
    Ford is reaching out to internet consumers in four ways:

    *  Ford.com -- the portal to Ford Motor Company.
    *  Buyer Connection -- enabling customers to shop and configure their
       vehicles.
    *  Dealer Connection -- facilitating the development of a relationship
       between customers and local dealers.
    *  Owner Connection -- a means of nurturing the customer relationship.

    "We believe these new offerings firmly establish the Ford Motor Company as
the category leader in developing e-commerce, e-service, and e-communication
solutions for its customers," says David Ropes, Ford's director of Corporate
Advertising and Integrated Marketing.  "1998 marked the coming of age of e-
commerce.  For the first time, on-line retailing moved to center stage."
    With that in mind, Ford has created an internet presence to be as
customer-focused and customer-friendly as possible.
    Ford.com has been designed as the virtual extension of the Ford Motor
Company.  It is the trustmark, introducing the corporation and its six
distinct brands, and creating the bond of trust between Ford and its
customers.
    "Ford.com is an interactive site -- where the customer dictates what he or
she wants to do or know," Ropes says.  "Consumers can find the information
they need to suit their purpose -- as an investor, as a shopper, a buyer and
an owner."
    Buyer Connection allows potential customers to build any Ford Motor
Company vehicle right on line.  Using state-of-the-art configuration
technology, a shopper can construct the vehicle of his or her choice in the
style, variety and equipment of his choosing.  Moreover, the customer can
apply for credit and receive approval through Ford Motor Credit Company right
on line.
    Dealer Connection is the central point for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury
dealer websites.  Using a universal dealer locator, customers can find a
participating dealer in their neighborhood.  Dealer Connection also allows
individual dealers to manage the content of their websites directly.
    "We like to think of Dealer Connection as Ford, Lincoln and Mercury and
their dealer networks teaming up to serve the customer locally," Ropes says.
    Owner Connection works to establish a comprehensive relationship with
customers to improve customer satisfaction.  For example, Owner Connection
provides service offers through Ford Quality Care to keep vehicles in the best
possible shape.  Owner Connection also provides the direct link for customers
to share feedback with Ford Motor Company.  Special offers from Hertz and new
product information also are provided through Owner Connection.
    Ford Motor Company today also announced it has become the sole automotive
sponsor of iVillage.com -- the internet's number one site dedicated to
providing women with information on health, parenting, investments and
purchasing decisions.
    "In reality, all of our internet efforts represent a starting point from
which we will continue to experiment and learn new ways to engage our
customers and make our services easy for them to use," Ropes says.  "Most
importantly, Ford.com will be the online manifestation of our corporate effort
to become more customer-driven -- a company that cares about its customers and
stakeholders and a company that is actively forging new ways to nurture strong
relationships with them."