FORD DATA REVEAL U.S. BUYING TASTES: CINCINNATI SEES RED, BOSTON GOES GREEN, L.A.’S STORY IS SILVER
- Ford Motor Company’s annual look at U.S. car buying preferences reveals that American tastes for car colors and features vary widely from city to city
- When it comes to color choices, Boston buys the highest percentage of green vehicles, San Francisco is tops for white vehicles and D.C. buyers have an affinity for blue vehicles
- Seattle buyers most often choose cooled seats and moonroofs, New Yorkers order the highest percentage of rear seat DVD entertainment systems and Dallas buyers love towing packages
- Ford uses knowledge of regional preferences to help stock popular vehicles at dealerships, aiding sales performance and customer satisfaction
DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 14, 2010 – It may be no surprise that customers in sizzling Phoenix order the most Ford vehicles painted Molten Orange. Or that the most red-colored Ford cars are sold in Cincinnati – home of the Cincinnati Reds. But who knew that rainy and cool Seattle would be No. 1 in moonroofs and air-conditioned seats?
Those are just a few of the findings from Ford’s annual look at U.S. car buying preferences. Ford analyzes its U.S. sales data to identify buying patterns and to better understand unique consumer preferences by region. The analysis helps Ford ensure it is delivering the specific vehicles, colors and options to those parts of the country where they’re most in demand.
“New car buyers are not all the same, and they can surprise you,” said Brad Munn, Ford’s cross-vehicle product strategy manager. “It’s important that we know what people are buying from coast to coast to make sure we are matching the right vehicles with regional consumer tastes.”
San Francisco and Seattle, known for environmentally conscious consumers, are one and two in hybrid sales. L.A., Washington, D.C. and Phoenix make up the remainder of the top five hybrid markets. It’s also no surprise that the top Ford market for green cars is none other than Boston, where the Boston Celtics are an institution.
But as the popularity of moonroofs in Seattle shows, the data also can turn up unexpected trends. For example, residents in some large cities have an affinity for the traditional stick shift, defying the popular perception that only rural owners like to shift their own gears. The top five manual transmission markets include Minneapolis, Phoenix and Boston.
A shade for every region
Muted colors, including gray and silver, are most popular in large cities on the coasts, with California and the Pacific Northwest showing a particular affinity for gray cars. Red is popular in the Midwest, regardless of bodystyle or vehicle type. And the East is distinctly green, with Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and New York rounding out the top five in that color.
“Car and truck owners throughout the country often try to convey different messages about themselves to the world,” explains Susan Swek, Ford group chief designer, color and materials design. “Color choice is a powerful way to do that.”
Amenities and capabilities
Navigation systems are understandably popular in sprawling Los Angeles, but when it comes to knowing where you are going, L.A. is actually No. 2 behind San Francisco, the leading market for the increasingly popular option. New Yorkers order the highest percentage of rear seat DVD players, followed by Los Angeles and Dallas.
Top markets for tow packages include the perennial pickup truck capitals of the country: Dallas and Houston. Towing is also a priority for residents of Memphis, Kansas City and Atlanta, however, likely reflecting the presence of businesses that require towing capability and residents interested in getting out of town with either a boat or a travel trailer hitched to their truck. Not surprisingly, the peak cities for towing packages closely parallel the top markets for Ford
“About 95 percent of our Super Duty customers tow,” notes Doug Scott, Ford Truck Group marketing manager.
As Ford continues to expand its technology offerings, consumers in tech-savvy regions of the country are embracing the latest innovations. Software hub Seattle ranks as the top market for vehicles equipped with both a rear view camera and Ford’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®). Seattle also takes second place only to San Francisco for active park assist, a system that offers drivers hands-free parallel parking.
Meeting customer needs
Thanks to extensive sales analysis along with feedback from customers and dealers, Ford has been able to optimize its model mix and meet customer needs.
“Ford focuses its efforts on delivering the right option combinations for its customers, and everyone reaps the benefits,” said Munn. “We can offer more options for the same – or less – money, and customers are more likely to find the vehicle they’re looking for on a local dealer’s lot.”
And the top five are…
The charts below represent the top five markets for various Ford Motor Company colors, powertrain and feature options by percentage1 in 22 major U.S. metropolitan areas.
1 U.S. markets only; all figures based on retail and dealer stock orders; the rankings represent locales with the highest sales of a given feature/color as a percentage of the total number of Ford vehicles sold in that market
2 Detroit market not included in feature take-rate rankings due to high volume of Ford employee leases and their effect on sampling rates
3 Includes vehicles with air-conditioned seats since that feature is not available without heated seats
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 159,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.