SHANGHAI (AdAgeChina.com) -- JWT has relocated Mike Nash, one its global car marketing experts, to Shanghai to lead the WPP Group agency's Ford business in China.
The account includes Ford Motor Co.'s import business as well as cars produced by Chang'an Ford Automobile Co., the U.S. auto company's joint venture with a local company, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. Ford also produces transit vans through another joint venture with Jiangling Motors Corp.
Ford has struggled compared to other foreign marketers like Volkswagen and General Motors in China, the world's second-largest car market. Last year, it missed its 2007 market share target. In the first half of this year, Ford's passenger car sales rose 25% to 116,903 units. Its best sellers included Ford's Focus compact, the S-Max crossover vehicle and the Mondeo sedan. But its chief rivals also saw strong sales growth.
The slowdown can be partly blamed on outside factors such as the destructive earthquake that hit Sichuan province last May.
China's government also slowed the purchase and use of cars in some cities like Beijing ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games to curb air pollution. Last month, passenger car sales in China dropped 5.4% compared to August 2007, and fell 6% compared to the previous month, according to the National Passenger Car Information Exchange Association.
As director in charge of the agency's Ford account, Mr. Nash, 44, succeeds Danielle Godbier, who is leaving the agency. He will be involved in many aspects of the American car company's business and will work with other Ford marketing partners such as Wunderman and the Chinese media buying agency, San Ren Xing.
For the past four years, Mr. Nash was general manager, automotive at JWT, Johannesburg. Before that, he spent two years in JWT's Detroit office, supporting Ford's marketing outside the U.S.
Mr. Nash joined JWT in his native South Africa in 2000, as head of the agency's Ford and Volvo accounts. Before working at JWT, he was client service director at Ogilvy & Mather in Johannesburg, where he worked on Audi.
Return to AdAgeChina, click here