Will Ford Profit In 2010?
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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      Ford Taurus SHO       (Source: Ford Motor)

While Ford Motor Co. stands alone as the only American automaker that didn’t solicit bailout money from the U.S. government and subsequently file for bankruptcy protection, it was far from unscathed. And as the No. 3 manufacturer of vehicles tries to save an eroding market share on the heels of perhaps the worst year for the industry, environmentally aware and African American consumers could play a pivotal role in its future.

With the industry still in a state of flux and consumer demand remaining questionable, Ford sees the minority space–and, of course, the environmentally conscious consumer–as areas of increasing importance as it looks to regain lost market share. “The great thing about Ford, particularly in the last year where everyone else cut multicultural marketing–our spending actually went up,” says Crystal Worthem, manager of Multicultural Marketing at Ford. “We do the print ads and TV and try to find ways to communicate with the customer to help change their mind, and we’re especially doing it in the African American community.”

Expanding minority-owned and -operated dealerships in minority communities is key to Ford increasing auto sales, says McGrath. “There is an opportunity to become a dominant presence in minority neighborhoods if [minorities] invest in it. It tends to be an underserved market,” he says.

All told, African Americans spent $11.5 billion on new car sales, using an average retail price of $20,000 per vehicle, according to Marc Bland, multicultural marketing lead for R.L. Polk, a provider of automotive information and marketing solutions.

Ford’s Worthem says the best way to speak to those consumers is through one-on-one relationships and the company has responded to that trend. “So from awareness to purchase consideration all the way down to sales, they’ll take a look at you when you’re at those one-to-one events more often than somebody from the general market. Ford realizes that the African American market is critical to us selling product and driving profits.”

These marketing strategies come on the heels of a steady rise in competition–primarily from Asian companies–and a shift by consumers away from the more profitable large pickup truck and SUV

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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