Even with the Bronco and F-150, dealers must remain smart about their digital advertising strategies. - PHOTO: Ford.com

Even with the Bronco and F-150, dealers must remain smart about their digital advertising strategies.

PHOTO: Ford.com

The 2021 Ford Bronco was announced with much fanfare in July, following the excitement generated in May and June for the F-150. The Bronco will be available for purchase in the spring of next year, and excited buyers will certainly not be disappointed.

From video, search, display and social, dealers must remain active to stay top-of-mind in front of the customer and compete in their local markets.

Ford dealers should do exceptionally well with the Bronco. Online buzz is everywhere as every blog, enthusiast site, and automotive publication has talked about it.

That said, Ford did something very interesting. They secured deposits and sold out of a launch edition very quickly. This will certainly be very good for dealers since it will likely result in a very low direct advertising cost per vehicle sold since the up-front advertising was done by Ford at the manufacturer level.

The key to any dealer succeeding long term lies in the fundamentals of the auto retailing business. The dealer needs to be great at making it easy for the customer to get order details, to be proactive working with customers and make it easy to buy. Good dealers already know this and while most dealers do a good job of this, it is important to remember the importance of always making the transaction experience exceptional for the customer.

With the Bronco offering a bevy of trim options for the Bronco, Ford dealers have an opportunity to build trust with their customers in helping them select the right options that fit individual tastes. 

Many different trim levels to showcase.

The vehicle will be available starting at $29,995 for a base two-door but will also be available in a four-door model, starting at $34,695. After the Base Model, there is a tire-upgrade option dubbed the “Big Bend”, which promises 32-inch tires rather than the standard 30 inches.

The “Outer Banks” version is an upgrade falling on the luxury side. TheBlack Diamond” has rock rails, skid plates, and even a locking rear differential. The “Badlands” has 33-inch tires and a disconnecting front sway bar, while the “Wildrtrak” features the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, slated to make 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, position-sensitive Bilstein dampers, and 35-inch tires.

Finally, the “Sasquatch” package seems to do it all. Buyers can add this package to any trim level. Not only does it have three extra inches of track width, but it also features a 4.70 final-drive ratio, locking front and rear Spicer differentials, 35-inch Goodyear Territory mud-terrain tires, 17-inch black-painted Beadlock-capable wheels, high-clearance suspension, and fender flares, and the Bilstein dampers. There truly is a Bronco for every buyer.

How will dealers advertise the Bronco and F-150?

It is expected that Ford and their dealer partners will promote through usual media channels (print, electronic, video, social) and there should be some very exciting campaigns developed as a result. Ford has the benefit of pre-registrations for the initial push.

Jeep certainly has a very loyal following and continues to be in a great position to capitalize on all their momentum. However, the Bronco will be a serious competitor so it will be interesting if Jeep plans any kind of advertising strategy that illustrates distinct differentials between the two vehicles.

Car sales have certainly rebounded from the early and dismal days of the pandemic back in March and April. Despite numbers and cases going back up in certain areas people will continue to go back into showrooms for continued sales – albeit not at the same pace of sales as last year, of course. It’s possible that both Jeep and Ford play up the desire for drivers and enthusiasts to be in outdoor spaces where both vehicles have a great advantage to capture consumer interest from a lifestyle point of view.

Lots of excitement, but dealers must remain focused.

More than likely, the consumer response will be exceptional. Ford’s F150 performed very well during COVID-19 and this trend most likely will continue. The Bronco has so much demand already and dealers will sell all they have for a while. The Bronco is also priced very well giving dealers another great selling point.

Despite the excitement surrounding the vehicles, dealers have big decisions ahead to ensure they keep consumers engaged and excited for showroom visits. After a record-breaking June for many dealers (not just sales, but record profits), dealers are starting to see things level off following the Fourth of July sales event. Depleted inventory and shifts in consumer sentiment are having some impact on sales trends. So far, surges in COVID are not having quite the same impact on demand or dealership operations that they did at the start of the outbreak, which is promising. Recovery will come, but it will likely come slower than any of us would like.

Even with the Bronco and F-150, dealers must remain smart about their digital advertising strategies. From video, search, display and social, dealers must remain active to stay top-of-mind in front of the customer and compete in their local markets.

Jeremy Anspach is the CEO of PureCars, a leading automotive dealer advertising and attribution technology provider. For more information please visit www.purecars.com

Read: The Top 5 (Non-COVID) Developments In Dealership Employment Law

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