With automakers casting a wider global net, top billionaire
investor Gurus seem split on the Ford Motor Co.
as of quarter ending Dec. 31, 2012. While increasing automotive
exports overseas, automakers are also reaching towards women as a
sector of key buyers, earners and decision-makers. The obvious
necessity of marketing to women is finally trickling up in
corporations after Betty Friedan wrote all about it 50 years ago
in her classic book "The Feminine Mystique." (There's a chapter
on advertising: The Sexual Sell.)
It's very interesting that Ford India and Ford in Italy have two
very different ways of selling cars to and through the feminine
mystique. Today CNN reported a Ford Figo ad campaign in Italy
depicting Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi driving
a Ford Figo with three women bound and gagged in the back. The
Ford company has already apologized.
Over in India, it's a prettier picture painted by Ford India, if
one can withhold cynicism about cause marketing that uses the
exotic photo opportunity of poor women and infants in remote
In the last year Ford Motor used comprehensive cause marketing in
India to generate positive perception and grow sales among women.
Their programs champion the empowered woman and solve urgent
pregnancy health issues to help the automaker fill the steady
demand for cars overseas. Ford India's pilot program, concluded
last month, was designed to bring healthcare to women and
children living in an inaccessible part of remote India. The
program is called "SUMURR," meaning Sustainable Urban Mobility
with Uncompromised Rural Reach, and, of course, it features a
rough-riding Ford Endeavour SUV as the hero, traversing the most
difficult of terrains to save lives. After arriving in rural
areas in the SUV, healthcare professionals use laptops and cell
phones to connect with doctors to help pregnant women. According
to Ford's website, the program made safe childbirth possible for
41 pregnant women in India.
Interweaving a country's basic need for urgent health care via
telemedicine with the perception of Ford India's all-terrain SUV
is a great way to build brand loyalty, generate word of mouth,
and "own" a country. As for capturing sales and interest, it's
working. Exports for the third consecutive month combined with
steady domestic demand helped Ford India end 2012 with sales of
10,899 domestic wholesale and export units in December. Its
subcompact Ford Figo, unveiled in 2009, is produced for India's
market as well as for export to other Asian countries and Africa.
Ford India's domestic sales saw 6,517 vehicles sold in December
2012, compared to 5,978 units sold in the same month in 2011, a
year-on-year increase of 9 percent.
In February 2013, Ford India sold 7,253 vehicles, combining
domestic sales and exports. Ford India exports rose 16 percent in
February to 2,763 units, up from 2,389 units last year. The
domestic wholesales numbers stood at 4,490 in February 2013 as
compared to 8,035 in February 2012.
Top executives have commented on the company's challenges in
expanding to overseas markets. President and managing director of
Ford India, Joginder Singh, said, "Despite a tough business
environment, we have seen record exports and sustained customer
interest in December... As we head into 2013, we will continue to
focus on providing products and services, with Quality, Green,
Safe and Smart attributes, that our customers want and value."
Executive Director of Marketing Vinay Piparsania said, "In the
domestic market, we continue to witness some tough and
challenging conditions. While we are generating consumer interest
in our great products, policy uncertainty and resulting lowered
consumer confidence is impacting our business."
What are top Gurus doing with Ford Motor Co?
As of Dec. 31, 2012,
added 48.07% to his Ford Motor Co.
His holding history:
Articles on GuruFocus.COM
Other Guru trades at year-end included:
As of Dec. 31, 2012,
bought 3,135,000 F shares, as did Jean-Marie Eveillard who bought
6,863,716 shares. Louis Moore Bacon bought 185,500 shares and
Paul Singer bought 306,280. Other new buys were David Dreman who
bought 34,399 shares, Hotchkis & Wiley bought 115,300 shares,
and Ken Fisher bought 19,961 shares, all at a price of $13.3 on
In the same quarter, Gurus who reduced their F shares include Jim
Simons reducing by 82.89%, Paul Tudor Jones by 64.9%, Alan
Fournier by 39.76%, Ken Heebner by 32.7% and Steven Cohen by
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