How Should Ford Promote the Freestyle?

steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
edited March 2014 in Ford
Are you tired of driving a stealth vehicle? Or maybe you like being a member of the exclusive unknown club.

What do you think Ford should do to get the word out on the Freestyle?


  • saabturboidsaabturboid Member Posts: 178
    It sounds like there are a number of us Freestyle owners in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Perhaps it is time to start a Minnesota Freestyle club. ;) Seriously though, we are over 25,000 miles on our '05 AWD SEL and love it. It is the perfect family vehicle for people who hate minivans.

    While I'm posting... I've seen a number of articles lately talking about the crossover fad. The upshot is basically people are dumping SUVs because of high fuel prices and moving to the crossovers. Oddly the Freestyle is rarely mentioned in these articles. They usually mention vehicles like the Toyota Highlander and Nissan Murano. Why doesn't anyone give Ford credit for this vehicle?

  • passat_2002passat_2002 Member Posts: 468
    Because in the two-year history of the Freestyle, Ford has rarely mentioned it themselves. To this day, I have never seen a Freestyle commercial. It continues to be a stealth vehicle.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Member Posts: 468
    It;s nice to have some good reports. Sometimes the negative ones make you think too much. Ours seems to run better as it gets more miles.
  • northlakesnorthlakes Member Posts: 368
    I have seen two Freestyle commercials. One in the Fall of 2005 with a number of seat up/seat down configurations and a catchy beat. Then there was the ad this month (July) with divorced adults transferring the kids at the end of the weekend. Not a lot of coverage, but it is too late to protect the Explorer now.

    Speaking of commercials, I saw an infomercial on the SPEED network about the "two-stage" hybrid Lexus performance sedan. They were on some race course and flogging it with two and four people inside. Accelerate, brake, pass. They made a point of saying it felt like a race car and that the CVT transmission was great! (OK, the CVT in hybrids is not identical to that in the Freestyle).

    Then, last night, I saw a Nissan Maxima commercial. It did not claim to be a hybrid, but it did say, "Maxima with CVT" like it was the new, got to have option. The driver was making RPM-shifting noises because the car was smooth and shiftless with the CVT.

    Maybe the CVT will get some respect after all. :shades:
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Member Posts: 468
    northlakes said:
    "Then, last night, I saw a Nissan Maxima commercial. It did not claim to be a hybrid, but it did say, "Maxima with CVT" like it was the new, got to have option. The driver was making RPM-shifting noises because the car was smooth and shiftless with the CVT."

    Yes, I've seen this ad too. I believe the Murano (which must be the Japanese word for butt-ugly ) has always had a CVT trany. With the planned shutdown of the Batavia plant.. I'm not sure of the future of the CVT at Ford.
  • vicenacvicenac Member Posts: 229
    Well, while the CVT will pop up in shavers one day, I am cooling off about them. When Audi advertised theirs a few years ago, they said - fast as a manual and smoother then an auto.
    It's smooth alright, but the acceleration suffers. It's not fast at all. I also wonder if Ford's implementation is to blame for "TURBO-LAG" or maybe it's some other component that slows things down.
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaMember Posts: 1,173
    I also took notice to the Maxima CVT commercial. The thing I find odd about it, next time you see the commercial, look at the TACH, it gets up to almost 5000 RPM, and even if you can't FEEL the shifting, you can still HEAR it. In the commercial the CVT must be stuck in a lower gear. :confuse:

    Odie's Carspace
  • maymaymaymay Member Posts: 16
    How about promoting it for what it is? A 5 star safety rating, gigantic interior, storage galore, comfortable seating for 6 adults (okay the back is not first class, but unlike comparable CUV's an adult can actually fit comfortably back there), unbelievably easy to fold seats, more cargo room than most SUV's, and the fact that you get everything an SUV can offer you except the towing (which, frankly, most people don't need). Oh, and fantastic fuel mileage for such a beast (ours gets better mileage than our neighbor's Japanese midsize sedan, and she still *thinks* we're wasing fuel :surprise: )

    Why don't they make a commercial with people living their lives. Show a family of 4 going to a warehouse store like Costco, and loading up with groceries and goodies and everyone still having a place to sit? Show a mom picking up a hoard of carpool kids from school, then show the dad on the weekend loading up the entire car with supplies from a Home Depot type store, and not looking embarassed that he's in a mommywagon. Show a family who has Grandma living with them, and how she doesn't have to climb a ladder to get into the family car -these seats are at hip height, perfect for someone who isn't terribly mobile. Highlight all the features that make the Freestyle so liveable, like the cubby in the dashboard, powerpoints everywhere, legroom for giants, comforts for every passenger.

    This is a vehicle for real people, I think it's time for some reality commercials rather than fantasy.

    We ended up looking at the Freestyle because I am not strong enough to pull myself up out of the seat of a sedan, and my mother isn't strong enough to hoist herself into an SUV. It's a winner because groceries and shopping bags sit at a height that isn't so low you break your back lifting them out. And as spacious as it is inside, it's far easier to drive and park around town than an SUV. We bought it on research alone, there were no ads pointing out all the features of this vehicle. Some terrific ads would've had us buying the care months earlier.
  • ramj70ramj70 Member Posts: 28
    I think the word is slowly getting out, this was from click and clacks program and they recommend the FS. They have lots of people who listen to them.

    Dear Tom and Ray:

    I am beginning to look for a new car, a minivan. I like having four-wheel drive, since I often travel in lousy weather or have to drive through muddy fields. Should I get a van with all-wheel drive? Also, do you have a recommendation for a minivan? I'm leaning toward a Toyota Sienna right now. -- Jody

    TOM: One option may be a front-wheel-drive minivan. In moderately bad weather, minivans do quite well. They're heavy and have the engine right over the front wheels, and they have enough ground clearance to get you through a modest amount of snow with no problem. So if bad weather is just an occasional problem for you, front-wheel drive may be enough. Especially if you invest in four good snow tires.

    RAY: But if you have to drive frequently in unplowed snow or, as you say, onto muddy fields, then you really do need all-wheel drive. And in that case, a good backup option might be something like a Ford Freestyle.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    I agree with Click-n-Clack. The main selling point (but how do we actually say it...) is that people associate mini-vans with mommies'n'kiddies. Men don't want to be seen as wussies in a mini-van. Therefore, the FreeStyle is a good compromise to a mini-van. It has more rugged looks to match the rugged good looks of the driver. Really its all egos and crap. However, people are emotional. I bought a Freestyle because of its Volvo-designed chassis, efficiency, and size. Ford just can't seem to spend any money promoting it, like showing how shiny it can get, set to cool music and animation, and having attractive people licking it as they exclaim that its the source of their coolness. I love advertising....
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Member Posts: 178
    Firstly, Ford doesn't toot its horn about the Volvo architecture. The name "Volvo" screams safety. This is the reason I bought a Freestyle. There are a lot of European car drivers out there like me that need something with more capacity but can't afford the European SUV options, not to mention they rarely have a 3rd row seat. If they knew the Freestyle was a warmed over Volvo S80 that might at least get their interest. The fact that the Freestyle aced all of the crash tests will re-enforce this.

    The only reason I see Ford avoiding the 'V' word is they don't want to pull sales down from would-be Volvo XC90 buyers.

    Secondly, get the marketing out there that this is a fantastic crossover. I read lots of automotive articles about how SUVs are on the wane and crossovers are the future, yet few if any ever mention the Freestyle. Why is this? Is Ford just doing a poor marketing job, or is the Freestyle just invisible to these automotive journalists.

    Lastly, get the real message out there that this vehicle has 90% of the space and functionality of a minivan, but is cool unlike a minivan. It looks like an SUV, drives like a car, and has the room of a minivan. This should be the central marketing strategy of Ford. It seems so simple, so why haven't they done it?

    - Chad
  • mschmalmschmal Member Posts: 1,757
    They change their message more ofhen than a demacratic presidental candidate.

    The Freestyle was basically dumped from the ad budget after a short launch.

    Big shame. This car definately impresses the people who take the time to understand it. The tall wagon look can be kind of off putting.

  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    They change their message more ofhen than ...

    Let's resist the temptation to go political! :)

    tidester, host
  • stmssstmss Member Posts: 206
    Agree here having owned a V70 for 8 yrs. My wife won't consider anything else but at least she considered the Freestyle once she found out its Volvo relationship. I leased an 06 ltd mostly for work last year to try it out. Ford should promote its versatility;

    1. A real third row seating area with a middle bench or individual seats. Without needing to go to a full size SUV. There is not much competition that can offer this in the price range (other than minivans and maybe Pilot and Highlander)
    2. AWD and the fact that it is not a 'push button' 4wd.
    3. Work or family - I use mine for work and ferrying around three boys to sports on weekends - I have nav and DVD. For work I do highway, gravel, oil lease roads, cart paths you name it and after 40,000km still no rattles and really the only issue I have is the tire selection (and fuel tank size). Very comfortable on trips and routinely do 600-800km in a single day.
    4. Modesty - it does a lot very well without screaming overpriced or extravagant. Maybe this is a negative for many people but for me in consulting I prefer something a bit more conservative but still gets the job done.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    How about a commercial showing 7 adults getting out of their giant SUVs/Minivans in a parking lot, walking over to a Freestyle and start throwing their small suitcases/duffle bags behind the third row, all getting into the Freestyle and driving off for a weekend trip and panning inside to show how 7 adults can sit comfortably. That would really show it's versatility and roominess, especially sitting beside the huge SUVs.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    That's a pretty good idea - if you make the commercial yourself and upload it to CarSpace you could win a $250 Best Buy Gift Card in time for the holidays. I have a minivan you can use as a prop. :shades:

    Check the CarSpace landing page for the contest link.
  • jbrooks544jbrooks544 Member Posts: 8
    How about just quickly ticking off all the obvious plusses for the car, then ending it with a funny line about how it isn't a mini van. Do you know how many guys would buy this car if it were able to tell their wives that it did everything that a mini van did, without having to drive a minivan?

    It does everything you use your SUV for, but better and with better MPG. It does everything you use your minivan for, well... without having to be seen driving a mini van.
  • mmccloskeymmccloskey Member Posts: 168

    If Ford is going to the trouble of restyling/renaming/updating the FS, then they should promote it's virtues. Namely it's roomy and versatile interior, outstanding safety, more powerful engine w/6-speed auto, and price advantage over similar vehicles. I would imagine (and hope) the price increase for the 2008 Taurus X would not be more than 3-4% over the 2007's. I recently drove a 2007 Edge SEL+ just to sample the new engine and transmission. I didn't really care for the Edge, but the drivetrain (engine & transmission) were a huge improvement over the current 3.0 and CVT in the 2005-2007 Freestyle. I really like my 2005 FS Limited, but may jump in on a 2008 Taurus X if the price increase is reasonable.

    Now if Ford totally ignores the 2008 'X' (namely no advertising or promotion of the vehicle) then I will look elsewhere.

    Regards -

    M. J. McCloskey
  • jwgasnerjwgasner Member Posts: 12
    Go and go to the summary page where you can tell Ford about your existing vehicle. Choose Ford - no Freestyle.... An you wonder why Ford can't market this vehicle. The Flex looks like something from an Safari - not something I find unique or eye catching to say the least.
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