After Much Hype, Fiesta Launch Falters

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

We don’t just want it to be seen,” said Jeff Eggen, Ford’s car experiential marketing manager, speaking about the Fiesta’s appearance in “Diaries.” The idea is to “have a second element or a third element” rather than just a placement on a TV program, “where we can engage with the fans outside of the show with additional content

While AdAge raves over Ford’s “product placement plus” marketing scheme for the Fiesta, actual customers for the Mexican-built subcompact are starting to get testy. The Fiesta’s Facebook page is home to several customer complaints about slow delivery of Fiesta, and Ford has already sent out $50 Mastercard gift cards to waiting customers. But in the letter accompanying the gift cards, Ford blamed hurricanes for Fiesta delays… and it turns out there’s more to the story than that. The Freep reports that 6,000 Fiestas were delayed last week due what Ford’s Mark Fields calls “a part-quality issue.”

Fields reassures consumers that only 12 out of the 2,300 cars that were inspected were found to be lacking, and

We have addressed it, and vehicles are shipping from the plant. We don’t believe that, at this point, there are any vehicles in customers’ hands that have that issue

More importantly, he stresses that

The biggest delay was caused by Mother Nature

Ford’s received much attention for its marketing in the leadup to the Fiesta launch, and the good vibes are clearly here to stay in the advertising industry press. So we’ll be the one’s to say it: your marketing doesn’t mean squat if you can’t deliver cars to customers. Acts of nature suck and we’re certainly glad Ford delayed again rather than ship Fiestas with faulty parts, but the unsexy business of delivering to customers is just as important as building buzz. Without product (and not just the “vamped-out” contest prize model), the buzz has no purpose.

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  • SV SV on Aug 28, 2010

    I agree with some earlier commenters that the title of this article is a bit deceptive. The Fiesta has seen alot of delays, yes, but it doesn't seem to be hurting demand much. 4,377 Fiestas have already been sold in July, a rather good number for only being on the market for 2 months and having all those shipping delays. Once Ford gets the factory-to-dealer process running smoothly and inventories get to a healthy level, I think 6,000/month sales numbers (pretty much the standard for this class and something like Ford's goal for this car) will be easy to achieve.

  • MrBeer MrBeer on Sep 07, 2010

    My daughter ordered a Ford Fiesta on April, 14, 2010 from a dealership in NJ. She is very disappointed and is ready to rescind her order and move to a Honda. She feels that Ford has let her down. Below is a letter she received from the dealership, about the whereabouts of her Fiesta. It looks like it had been built by May 31, 2010 and has been sitting on the dock in Mexico ever-since. Hi Richard, I do understand your frustrations with the Fiestas. Keep in mind that any dealer inquires in the East Market come to me so for every unit you ask about, I get at least 10 others also asking for theirs. I know every customer is very important to you and to Ford Motor Company. We never like to lose any deal. We are working to get all the Fiestas delivered to the dealers as quickly as possible. We will be putting something together and handing it out to all the zone managers to help explain the process we are facing with regards to Fiesta. I am sure Sharon will cover this with you once she gets it. In the mean time, here is a brief explanation of how the Fiestas get to the dealership. Hopefully this gives you an idea of how to plan when you should expect them. Once a unit is produced and released from the plant (ramp 5J in vehicle visibility) it's shipped by rail to the port (ramp 7V). Since the port can't hold all the units they also have a storage lot (ramp 5E) they use. From the port, the Fiestas are loaded on a boat and shipped to the port in Baltimore for the Northeast US. It takes a week for the ship to get from the port in Mexico to Baltimore. One issue we face is a boat ships out of Mexico every 2 weeks so a unit that hits the port in Mexico could sit for 2 weeks before it finally moves out. Vehicle Visibility won't update until the boat arrives in Baltimore. Once they get to Baltimore, all the units need to pass through customs. This shipment took 5 days to get approved for entry into the US. We are working on getting this handled quicker in the future. With regards to the units for you at the port now. All the Fiestas are cleared through customs and are in the possession of the transporters. We have been told that every unit OK to ship out of Baltimore will be delivered within a week. You should have all 6 of these units by next Wednesday if not sooner. 3FADP4FJ9BM108241 Available for Pick-Up - K1413 (Aps North Terminal Inc ) 3FADP4FJ3BM111023 Available for Pick-Up - M1436 (Aps North Terminal Inc ) 3FADP4CJ1BM109453 Available for Pick-Up - M1135 (Aps North Terminal Inc ) 3FADP4CJ7BM113118 Received - B16 (Bavarian Motor Transport Llc ) 3FADP4FJ4BM113119 Received - B02 (Bavarian Motor Transport Llc ) 3FADP4FJ7BM118556 Received - N35 (Bavarian Motor Transport Llc ) 3FADP4AJ6BM118555 Received - K1636 (Bavarian Motor Transport Llc ) With regards to 3F-BMxxxxx for Gxxxxx, this unit is currently at the port in Mexico. The next ship is due to arrive in Baltimore around 8/16/10. I will try and find out if this one is on it. If so, it will again take a few days to clear customs and have it delivered to you. I will ask it be prioritized, but I would hate to promise a date we can't make. If the Fiesta is on the next boat, I would give it an ETA of 8/29/10. That is a day to unload the ship, 5 days to get through customs, and a week to deliver. Obviously, if we can get it there sooner we will, but I don't want to over promise something. Your order for Gxxxxx has been delayed because it was built before the OK to buy was received. All units built before we receive the OK to buy are held for checks to make sure there are no issues with the production before being shipped out. We received the OK to buy on 6/7/10 but your retail order was build on 5/31/10. All 6 of the inbound units were built after the OK to buy was issued. This is why we do not like to schedule retail orders with the first several weeks of production. I understand dealers ask to get them pulled right away but there is a reason we do not do this. For some reason, this unit was requested to be prioritized before we were OK to buy. I hope this clears a few things up. I know all the information is not exactly what you want to hear but hopefully it explains why we are where we are. I hope that you are able to work with the customer and save the deal. David Sumera Sales and Inventory Specialist

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