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February 5, 2007

Ford Truck Naming Is Super Duty

ford-f150.gifIt seems to me that the trend in luxury car naming is toward developing an alpha-numeric brand architecture - that much is certain. But not so much when it comes to the naming of pickup trucks, where it may be that the inverse is true.

In the automotive industry, there is one brand name that stands tall: the mighty Ford F-Series, the best selling vehicle in the United States, the most awarded truck in auto history and sales leader in category for 29 years. The brand name was introduced in 1948 and since then over 32 million of these trucks have been sold worldwide, with one sold in the U.S. every 21 seconds.

Is this the triumph of alpha-numeric naming in the field?

Well, Toyota has an answer for that as does Dodge, who are both offering revamped versions of the Tundra and Ram respectively, leading to a panic stricken news reports last week that predict trouble down the road for this stalwart.

The Super Bowl spots yesterday for the brand name were nothing less than the initiation of a fight to hold the number one position in the U.S.

One option is to think up a new theme song for the truck. The other, Ford has discovered, is to get serious about product naming. Look at the top 10 cars in the U.S. for 2006. You’ll recognize names like “Silverado“ and "Ram.”

toyota-tundra.gifThe Toyota Tundra sticks in your mind, too, even if it isn't in the Top Ten (Toyota has the Camry and the Corolla up there). The top of the list is the F-Series, which will be depending on a revamp of its equally boringly named “Super Duty” extension to keep itself up there.

Rather than do away with the equity around the F-Series, Ford has focused their naming on the extensions within the range. The Super Duty represents 40% of the F-Series line, and it has some interesting extensions built in, including the “King Ranch” and the “Lariat Tough-Luxury.”

On top of that, there is the FX2 Harley-Davidson SuperCrew specialty model. These names, all introduced within the last few years, I think, are far more evocative of what the truck is about and their success will drive the truck’s sales.

Superior naming strategies and co-branding deals with companies like Harley-Davidson might just keep Ford on top.

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Posted by William Lozito at February 5, 2007 9:59 AM
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1 Comment

"Lariat Tough-Luxury" doesn't seem very evocative to me. I get the concept behind "tough luxury," (tough but luxurious) but the phrase reminds me too much of tough love, and I don't see what a lariat could have to do with that -- is the rope made of some incredibly strong silk?

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