Were working with product teams from conception to
vehicle launch, said Randall Janisch, Ford research manager
Advanced Product Development. Global Market Research
doesnt make the product decisions we make the decisions
market research at Ford takes place 40 to 45 months before the
start of production of a vehicle. To maintain anonymity, Ford
uses agencies to gather subjects based on vehicle ownership,
age, income and other demographics. These people meet with a
moderator to discuss life aspirations, personal values, and
watch from behind a two-way mirror in order to select individuals
who best represent the ideal consumer for a particular vehicle.
Researchers then visit the customers homes to understand
their likes and dislikes, noting favorite brands and the use
of automotive aftermarket products along the way.
conducts concept clinics and Internet surveys. The clinics use
photos, animations and show properties to gauge consumers
emotional response. The online surveys help identify the features
consumers want in different
types of car makes and models.
working with the product teams to develop target customer hypotheses
up front, Janisch said. And were making continuous
improvements along the way.
Motor Company conducts theme, package and appearance clinics
where advanced vehicle properties are presented alongside competitive
vehicles in static blind testing to evaluate interior
roominess, visibility, color and material use and exterior appearance.
then gauges market acceptance for each vehicle in clinics and
conducts final drives. Different consumers and locations are
used at every stage of the game.
judicious about not testing the same people too much,
Janisch said. However, well occasionally re-meet
with the same consumers at later stages in the program to confirm
certain product improvements.
to conduct research after vehicles reach market through several
processes, including the Global Quality Reporting System (GQRS),
which helps the company better understand customer satisfaction
with overall quality. Influencers gauged include price, sales
and service experience as well as things gone wrong.
In the latest
third-quarter GQRS study, Ford continued to see a steady upward
march in vehicle quality and customer satisfaction. Ford Mustang
Shelby GT500, Mercury Milan, Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Mark
LT ranked best in their respective segments.
models outperformed their competition, traditionally the best
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