Ford Executive Finds EcoBoost Difficult to Market

While Ford prepares to make its EcoBoost technology available on most of its cars and trucks, the automaker’s marketing department may find it difficult to convince V-8 aficionados that its V-6 EcoBoost engines are comparable.

Ford marketing manager Mike Crowley says he’s less worried about marketing EcoBoost now than he was in 2006, but he still has his reservations about converting customers who want V-8s.

“Once fuel prices spiked over $4 a gallon last year, people opened their eyes and started looking at alternatives to the traditional paradigm of ‘If I want power, I have to go for a V-8,'” Crowley says.

But Mustang buyers are looking for a V-8, he concedes. “That’s a traditional powertrain for them. I don’t think that group is ready today for an EcoBoost powertrain. They may in the future, but today I think it is all about V-8 horsepower.”

Ford’s EcoBoost technology employs direct injection, dual turbo-chargers and a smaller engine to achieve high output with conservative fuel economy. Ford says its EcoBoost V-6s will achieve the same power as a 4.6-liter V-8, while retaining the fuel economy of a V-6.

In the 2010 Lincoln MKS, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost-equipped V-6 achieves 355 horsepower, compared with 273 horsepower made by the standard 3.7-liter V-6 available for the flagship sedan. The EcoBoost V-6 will also show up as an option for the Ford Flex and Ford Taurus SHO. So far, Ford hasn’t announced the price of the option for any of those vehicles.

Ford has said that 90 percent of its vehicles will have an EcoBoost option by 2014, and expects to sell 750,000 EcoBoost-equipped vehicles by that time. Four-cylinder engines will get the EcoBoost technology soon, and although Ford hasn’t announced which vehicles will see that application first, there is some speculation that the Ford Focus or Ford Fiesta is slated to receive the engine.

Crowley says he will focus on the technology’s advanced features in marketing. “It will be a challenge,” he says.

“Although the technology has been around for a while, we are really introducing a new brand into the marketplace with EcoBoost. Our message to the marketplace will be that EcoBoost is a smart solution to deliver the fuel economy that you demand and the performance that you need.”

EcoBoost will be available in the 2010 Lincoln MKS, 2010 Ford Flex and 2010 Ford Taurus SHO by the end of the year.

Source: Automotive News