Ford Develops Pickup for Latino Market

Discussion
Apr 28, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Ford is bringing its F-150 limited edition Lobo pickup truck, made in Mexico, north of the border to sell in Texas.

The Lobo is, according to AdAge.com, “the first vehicle Ford developed exclusively for the Latino market.”

The auto manufacturer has signed a marketing deal with Pablo Montero, a singer and soap opera star, to promote the Lobo. Spanish-language television commercials with Mr. Montero
began airing this week.

The F-150 is already Ford’s most popular model with Latinos, according to the company. It will produce 1,500 of the limited edition Lobo models for sale in Texas.

Moderator’s Comment: Do you expect to see more international companies bringing products made in other countries here to sell to immigrant populations
from those places? Are you aware of companies other than Ford that are already doing this? What has been their level of success?

George Anderson – Moderator

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9 Comments on "Ford Develops Pickup for Latino Market"


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Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
15 years 9 months ago

Ford stands to make a ton of money on this deal to say nothing of becoming a preferred brand among Hispanics.

But the real money is to be made on this deal is in the automotive aftermarket. Latino men — particularly in the Southwest and West — have a serious car fetish. Tons of money is being spent on customizing stock vehicles. So, a lot of people are going to buy Ford’s vehicle and spend another $10,000 on custom chrome and engine upgrades.

Can other producers do the same? Look in any ethnic store and what you increasingly see are products produced in the mother country. It’s the ethnic version of comfort foods — items people recognize and keeps them close to their roots. I was in a new Korean supermarket recently and even products from recognized manufacturers like Nestle were imports.

Rick Moss
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

Bernice…I think what we’re talking about here is a little customization of a model that’s already been determined to be popular model, plus a marketing campaign geared to a particular demographic within the U.S. Hispanic market. From a Ford news release, “The full-size pickup market has seen double-digit growth in multicultural markets over the past three years – and F-150 is the best-selling pickup among Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans.”

Now that obviously doesn’t mean that all Hispanics love pickups. However, Ford had discovered that, for whatever reason, the model is appealing to certain groups (I assume young, Hispanic, males), so they’re trying to play that up. It should be interesting to see what limited edition features the Ford designers have added that make the truck more appealing, in their estimation.

As for Bubbas…just a new name for Rednecks. They had Rednecks when you lived in the States, didn’t they? (There may even be some in England, if you dismiss the accent.)

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

Colour me speechless, or hopelessly ignorant/naive – whichever you prefer, but how on earth can a vehicle be developed specifically for a particular ethnic market???!!! Accommodating it to the terrain, maybe, but the people???!!! I’m obviously missing something because this sounds like the epitome of arrogant, patronising racism to me. On the other hand, as we are also discussing “Bubbas” today, I think I must be even more out of touch with the US than even I had imagined. Is this really what my country has become?

Rupa Ranganathan
Guest
Rupa Ranganathan
15 years 9 months ago

Ford’s strategy in bringing a “Made in Mexico” brand to a high-priced automotive category tells us what a long way Latino marketing has come into this country. Cross border marketing strategies have been accelerated on both sides of the border. Even NASCAR reached out to U.S. Hispanics via Mexico.

Retail/packaged foods/goods and entertainment brands have for long leveraged this “back to the roots” approach. And so have financial services. But when brands like NASCAR and Ford start looking to Mexico to reach the U.S. Hispanic customer here, in the United States, it tells us that competition for Latino marketing is hotting up. And, that marketers and brand strategists who are offering Latino marketing expertise need to keep up with what their counterparts in Mexico are telling their clients here in the Bread Basket of America or in Detroit.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

The quick answer is yes. As to who’s doing it you need look no further than P&G with Ariel.

Art Williams
Guest
Art Williams
15 years 9 months ago

This should be very successful for Ford and will undoubtedly cause other large companies to get on the bandwagon. My understanding is that Hispanic consumers are very brand loyal and these marketing efforts should really help exploit that. Another major factor is the continuing growth of the Hispanic market in this country. It’s not just on the coasts and borders anymore, but has become very widespread. And as Ryan mentioned, P&G is no stranger to this strategy either.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 9 months ago

No, I don’t expect the importation of a customized truck model to presage an increase in products imported specifically for immigrant populations. Certainly thousands of products fall into this category already, and the Ford Lobo is just one more. If it weren’t for this practice of bringing along good things from the old country, we’d be without most of our fruits and vegetables, pizza, salsa, Jacqueline Bisset, and millions of other things we treasure.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 9 months ago
We had Bubbas in my day and have a variation on Rednecks in the UK. There isn’t much in those types of people that you can’t find under one name or another in most countries, I should imagine. As for the Ford pickup, I admit that I may have over-reacted and realise that different groups of young men may be particularly keen on certain types of customisation but it still strikes me as biased (to be politically correct about it) to try and tie that to an ethnic group. Getting back to the question, I’m sure that there is a target market for most types of imported foods amongst not only the relevant immigrant population but also people who have travelled to different countries and enjoyed what they ate. There is no way that an American or English or any other type of manufacturer can accurately replicate an ethnic cuisine from anywhere in the world, however. They may come up with products that people find acceptable but they will not be the same as the… Read more »
James Tenser
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

Bernice raises an interesting issue. Clearly in marketing there is a difference between tailoring a product’s features and specs to match the preferences of a target market versus positioning a product through branding and other forms of persuasion toward that target market.

In this example, Ford appears to be doing just a little of the former (mainly cosmetic details) and a good deal of the latter in positioning the F150 Lobo toward the Mexican-American market.

To the extent that Hispanics do not find Ford’s approach to be condescending, the strategy may work quite nicely.

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