The Ford Fiesta is making a return to the American market. Company officials announced that a new version of the Fiesta, which has been selling well in Europe, Asia and Latin America for the past 30 years, will be launched globally within the next two years.
And in a move that has some Ford execs nervous, the car will have the same name in every country, rather than allowing regional marketing teams to develop names that leverage the local culture.
Ford is going for efficiencies, despite the risks associated with the one-name-fits-all approach.
The company needs just one logo for ads, one set of nameplates for products; and online content and film for TV commercials can be shared. Branding experts say using one name can save a business tens of millions of dollars a year in marketing costs.
“Branding experts” also say it’s expensive and difficult to change a negative brand perception. But that’s what Ford is up against here in the States.
When Ford introduced the Fiesta in the U.S. in the late ’70s, though, the car was so unpopular it was pulled from the lineup after two years. Recently, some of those questioned in focus groups said “Fiesta” sounded cheap.
Yes, that’s how I remember it, too. It was right in there with those boxy little Chevettes, Vegas, Pintos and the rest of their ilk–Detroit’s late-in-the-game answer to our collective shock when gas prices rose to A DOLLAR A GALLON late in the decade.
Granted, today’s Fiesta looks nothing like the uninspired model from the 70’s–and it had better not. The new Fiesta had better be as differentiated as possible from the Fiesta that many Americans still think of as “cheap.” And Ford would do well to market this Fiesta to an audience too young to remember the first one.
It’s a gamble. Will Ford save enough in marketing efficiencies to cover the costs of the full-barrel PR and advertising blitz needed to re-map the Fiesta brand name to this (hopefully) superior car?
And even if a younger audience doesn’t remember the first Fiesta, is the “Fiesta” name itself cool enough to attract them?
We’ll see if this Fiesta lasts longer here the second time around.