Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Ford Goes After Toyota Buyers With New Ads

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Sometimes you get lucky.

Sometimes you shoot a commercial touting you have better quality than the competition and then the competition has two massive recalls.

Sometimes you get an opening to win back customers from a competitor who has kicked your tail for years.

All of that is happening for Ford and the automaker is smart enough to try and take advantage of Toyota's troubles.

It has new commercials running where the company boasts that it has better quality than the competition. The spots featuring Mike Rowe in a Ford plant. In them, the company does an effective job of sending its message: Ford's quality is every bit as good as Toyota's. On top of that, they don't come off as snarky or condescending. Quiet confidence is the sub-text.

Ever since Toyota's gas pedal problems came out roughly four months ago, I've often asked executives with the Big 3 why they aren't more aggressive going after Toyota. The executives often told me, "We're getting the message out there." It was as if the folks in Detroit were afraid to take a shot at Toyota. Perhaps they were trying to find the right tone. Whatever the reason, they are finally getting it in gear.

While Ford and GM are both running marketing campaigns where they talk about being better than Toyota, the Japanese automaker is now running spots saying it took its eye off the ball. The straightforward spots are designed to remind current and potential customers that Toyota has a long track record of building quality vehicles and that it will get back on track.

As Toyota tries to rebound, this is the opening the big 3 have been waiting for the last 30 years.


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