Ford hands Y&R Pan-European Puma launch

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LONDON -- Ford Motor Company has picked Young & Rubicam over fellow roster agency Ogilvy & Mather for the estimated $30m pan-European launch campaign of the Puma, its first low-volume European niche vehicle.

Y&R handles Ford's business in Germany but it has also worked on the Galaxy across Europe since its launch in September 1994. O&M runs Ford's advertising in all other European countries. Y&R's Puma win is for creative only. A strategy to run across Europe is likely to be developed by Y&R London and adapted to suit each market by local offices.

The Puma, which was unveiled to journalists at the Geneva Motor Show this month, will launch first in the U.K. - in August to time with the bulk of new car sales - followed by the rest of Europe in the fall. The U.K. and Germany are expected to be its best markets, where demand has historically been strong for coupe cars and where Ford believes consumers are looking for more individuality in vehicles.

Production numbers are anticipated to be just 20,000 to 30,000 a year, compared with the annual 200,000- plus Fiestas made. Coupes are popular because they offer "a sporty car with practicalities," says Don Hume, global news manager for Ford of Europe. "And now manufacturers are addressing niches, they are giving owners some degree of individuality."

The Puma, priced at around $18,700, will be the chief rival to the Tigra, the successful coupe launched by General Motors' Opel.

The Puma is strategically important to Ford as fruit of its new policy of rationalizing its global platforms. This will be the third vehicle to be produced from the Fiesta platform, following the Ka, a high volume city car. It will be the first niche car off the platform, however. And at just 3.9 meters, it is one of the smallest Ford coupes ever.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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