Ford Brand Audit

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Introduction:
The Ford Explorer is one of the most popular sport-utility vehicles sold in North America and built by Ford Motor Company. Since the early 1990’s the “Explorer” has been the head of the mid-sized SUV fleet in North America by Ford. It was born as a replacement for the Ford Bronco II, which ended production when restyling in 1989, did not have the desired market capturing success. In addition, safety reports of 1989-1990 suggested the Bronco II was prone to rollovers, poor handling, and the new restyling had functional design flaws causing an overabundance of accidents. This led to its demise and ultimate end of production on February 7th, 1990. The “Explorer” was the successor vehicle originally designed for small active families with a variety of cargo and an “on-the-go” lifestyle. The Ford Explorer has been instrumental in turning the SUV from a special-interest vehicle, consistently losing out to mini-vans, into one of the most popular vehicle types on the road today. Born March 1990 in St. Louis, Missouri the first-generation of the “Explorer” was equipped with similar features of the Bronco II and almost immediately recaptured its market share. Available in both 2-door and 4-door models, with rear or four-wheel drive the “Explorer” had a successful beginning in its first generation offering. The “Explorer” saw significant exterior, interior, and suspension updates in 1994 with the second-generation offering. It was paired with the “Explorer Sport” which was a trimmed, 2-door version of the standard 4-door “Explorer”. This generation of Explorer is known for its durability and longevity with many versions of these models still on the road today. The 4-door “Explorer” was significantly redesigned stylistically in its third generation in 2002, and the “Explorer Sport” was dropped in 2003 due to a lack of demand for small 2-door SUV’s. The third generation included a third-row of seats bringing capacity to seven, fully independent rear suspension, and updated style. The explorer was updated in 2006 for its fourth generation, which included a new frame, upsizing, electronics upgrades, and a stronger, heavier base. This 2006 version was nominated for North American Truck of the Year sparking numerous special edition, “supercharged” models such as SVT, The America, and the Lightning. Currently, since 2011, the “Explorer” is in its fifth generation and has shifted production to Chicago, Illinois. It features improved environmentally friendly specifications, significant technological advancements, and design improvements, which led to the North American Truck of the Year award in 2011. In addition, Ford began modifying the “Explorer” to include a Special Service Vehicle version to be used by law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS agencies. This was the first time a motor vehicle company produced a model to be commercially sold to these agencies, and is currently being used by NYPD and most other agencies across the United States. The “Explorer” with its long history (See Exhibit 1) is a heritage brand that has successfully competed for years with different “generations” keeping it increasingly relevant. The parent company, Ford Motor Company, has long been one of the benchmark companies of the motor vehicle industry and is currently one of the largest corporations in the world today. Founded in 1903 by Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company has sold automobile parts, motor vehicles, and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and is the second largest U.S based (Detroit, Michigan) automaker in the world. Additionally, Ford introduced to the world the idea of the “assembly line” and large-scale manufacturing commonly referred to now as “Fordism”. In 2008, Ford relied on a line of credit from the U.S government due to the rising cost of healthcare for an ageing workforce, and the declining sales of their flagship large SUVs, and since has created numerous jobs across North America, and, as a parent company,...
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