Trends that Ford Sees Shaping the Years to Come

By Charlie S.

With a new year on the horizon, we all cast our eyes to the future, setting goals and objectives for the upcoming months. It is in this spirit that Ford released its first-ever trend report, Looking Further with Ford , which is packed with revealing predictions about consumer habits and behaviors for 2013 and beyond.

These predictions were made by looking outside the automotive industry to understand what’s happening in social, technological, economic, environmental and political arenas. The in-house futurist for Ford, Sheryl Connelly, helped capture 13 micro trends that Ford will be watching over the coming year.

“Ford values the insights of trends to help guide our product development strategies so we can be as educated as possible to anticipate the cutting-edge technologies and automotive solutions customers will want, need and desire – well into the future,” said Connelly, Global Trends and Futuring Manager for Ford. “These trends and insights help Ford in our role as an innovator to create products that not only exceed consumers’ expectations, but that push the boundaries of imagination.”

One of the most important trends is that “Trust is the New Black.” What this means is that trust is becoming a key differentiator between brands. As people trust an average of only one in four brands today, companies that have their customers’ trust are holding onto an increasingly valuable and scarce commodity.

Going hand in hand with the importance of trust is an onus on companies to “get real.” People realize that no one is perfect, and are in fact wary of companies that present themselves as without fault or error. Rawness, authenticity and vulnerability are seen as positives.

The trend report also sees the rise of the “consumer republic,” as people increasingly use their purchasing power to influence how companies behave. Nearly two-thirds of people believe that they can change corporate behavior by supporting companies that do the right thing.

Another major trend is that more and more people are striking out on their own and “pioneering pathways.” With many Millennials expecting to stay in a job for three or fewer years, the traditional notion of working with one company for decades has gone out the window. People are working from home, valuing happiness more than money, and reshaping the conventions in their lives.

As more and more people strike out on their own, Ford is predicting a phenomenon it calls the “micro skills DIY.” To make their mark, people are pursuing new skills and ways of marketing themselves. This ties in with another trend, “help me help myself,” which sees people turning to self-imposed programs of incentive and disincentive to yield meaningful change in their lives.

Other trends covered in the report include sorting through information overload, valuing quality over quantity, escaping from behind screens to experience the real world, changing assumptions about aging, and the mainstreaming of green culture. All of these trends will affect businesses and customers alike in the coming years, and Ford is keeping a keen eye on them as we move forward into 2013.
Mr. H 01/27/2013
I agree, with all the BS written by the boss lady above, She needs to bring work to North America, and for the life, I dont know how politics comes into making a car
Stop following Global or is it because its cheaper.
Your the #1 selling brand, stop behaving like a high paid executive, and come back down to earth. My ford escape, developed problems that are costing me $200 a pop, nicely after the warranty ceased. Thanks. Sheryl! Good to read your not listening.
Liam R 01/03/2013
Go to the grave before I ever buy an F-150. Full size pick-ups are stupid and unnecessary. I'm either doing a 4-cyl diesel swap on my '01 Ranger once the 4.0L dies or going Tacoma/Frontier.
Martin H 01/01/2013
IMartin H.,I just purchased F150 3.5 ecoboost Lariat and if Ford is following Global Trends then what is missing is F150 with diesel like 3.2 DuraTorq Ford from Ford Ranger or small V6 Diesel to get better milage and hauling and towing capacity.That would improve millage 25-30% over 3.5 ecoboost.What is For waiting for .
Thanks Martin
Liam R 12/29/2012
If you're wanting to appeal to the up-and-coming generation of truck owners, bring us the new Global Ranger. I'm a 22 year old blue-collar Canadian male. Every single guy who currently drives a truck whom I talk to absolutely DROOLS over the new ranger. Small diesel? Good gas mileage? 3000+lb payload?! Can tow a locomotive?! Every guy I talk to, from guys who drive single-cab 2WD rangers, to guys who drive 1-tonne 6.7L Cummins would buy a compact truck like that in a MINUTE!
Tom Patterson 12/11/2012
I ordered new Mustang GT Convertible last friday and was told that it would be a 2014 and that there would be no changes from 2013 Specs.? Yet the Ford Site has NO info on the 2014 Mustang...WHEN WILL IT BE BUILT AND WHAT ARE THE CHANGES..IF ANY?
Tom Patterson
Juston P 12/11/2012
I'm a 31 yr old husband, father, and sole provider. Both my wife and I have business degrees and we just had our 3 child last Dec. we purchased a 2010 Mercury Mariner, loaded before I was forced to close my business in the current recession/depression. We purchased it because we wanted AWD, NAV, a receiver hitch, and a touch of up scale feeling from the old Escape. After driving it 56,000 miles, daily strapping 3 kids in 3 car seats in the back seat we realize we only use the roof rack for out door sports equipment. We use a receiver hitch rack for our cooler. And when we take out the dirt bikes, and off-road go karts we pull a small aluminum trailer. What we have found is that instead of gravitating to a larger vehicle we actually desire a smaller one, with the same utility, but when you get down to brass tax it's an exceptional driver experience with hi mileage that we want. Parking lot agility, and pep to its step. I guess like a train we add accessories to improve our Vehicles utility. The new Fiesta ST is on my radar. But I find myself disappointed that it lacks AWD, and a receiver hitch. I am stoked that it now offers, heated seats, NAV Screen, and 1.6L EcoBoost I just wish it had to Explorers terrain management AWD and a tow hitch... I want to drive slick streets, snow covered streets, hilly neighborhoods in the winter with confidence... Which translates into a great vehicle to take to the ski resorts as well...
Sunday F 12/11/2012
Ford ! it's just marvellous.
Brian Brown 12/10/2012
Great article and important to see the Trends of the Future!
patricia J 12/10/2012
Wish Ford would come out with a creative Alternative Fuel car such as and engine that Cyclone Power Technologies has that runs on any fuel. Would be cool and Green.
Debbie Gray 12/10/2012
Hi everyone at Ford. I am sorry to say that I made the bigest mistake of life. Our ford van was on it last legs and need to be retired.[after many great years of service] And insted of doing the smart thing [buying anouther ford] I made the mistake of a life time I bought a KIA SOUL 2U. And this is our story that I hope will prevent some one eles from making the same mistake that we made. To start with we were treated like second class humans cause we did not to finace our car we wanted we had cash. After we walked out of that dealer we stupidly went to anouther KIA DEALER. And bought our soul there. Two month ago my car broke down two and a half hours away from where I live they acted like it was no big deal.[ I take care of my husband who has had two strokes. And father inlaw who is 80 and not in the greatest shape]. They tried to say it was my fault becase I did not do regular maitenace on my car. When I informed them that they had better not say that I do do regular maitenance they said well not with KIA so it was not done properly. LOL. My car was fix and I went on my way. Last night Dec 9 2012 I had the same thing happen. The tow truck driver even tried and could not get it to go into gear. I called the KIA dealer first thing this morning told them what happed they called me back 30 minuts saying there was nothing wrong with my car and that I could come and pick it funny thing is it only took 20 minuts to fix it last time. I told them they need to get it to me. Well that pice of crap will sit there till it dyes of old age cause I will not go get it. We wish we had stayed with ford. Deb Gray of southampton ont canada.
Rob F 12/09/2012
EcoBoost 1-liter US !
Norm G 12/09/2012
Please don't follow the trend to add mega-dollar options to make the stang seem upscale. Remember the most popular option "radio delete" ... because it save weight. It's the low cost high performance cars that makes the image (then you can make profit on the rich kids)... not the other way around.
Daren H 12/09/2012
I have owned Fords for over 40 years, and never have had one I didn't like. I have a 2002 Sport Trac, that has never been in the shop for any repairs, and is still running strong.
Hugh O 12/09/2012
I read the report and it's quite insightful to your workings. I wonder if the trends in other countries where you have your products come into play?
tom t 12/08/2012
Is ford still testing fuel cell cars? I see on toyotas web site they are.
Brad B 12/08/2012
Hey Ford ! Exceeding expectations is what it's all about. The Disney organization refers to this as plus-ing. One great idea hinging on another as the WED Imagineers put it. Take the C-Max Hybrid that is making it's mark in the auto industry. I ordered mine last week from my dealer Dunn/Benson Ford, hopefully in 4 to 5 weeks it will be here.
The C-Max shows it's European heritage well, or to put it another way the Trend to have everything, and have everything in it's place shows through very well. I had the pleasure to meet a few of the Ford auto design teams in January. Dedication to the vehicle's smallest details was very apparent. I, as both a Ford Social member and Ford customer appreciates dedication those details that just 10 years ago might not have been considered. As Mike Rowe reports ... Ford has the freshest line in the industry. To quote another, A Winner Never Stops Proving It.
Philip G 12/08/2012
My previous suggestion my not have been sent. The garge door opener should be availble frm the factory on all vehicles with or without the moonroof. This is an extremely important safety issue.
Philip G 12/08/2012
What has happened to the "daytime driving lights" option. It can only be gotten if you have a fleet vehicle. I strongly feel this should be available as a safety option. If energy use is an issue use the parking lights. Anything that makes the vehicle stand out against the background under some conditions.
Stacey S 12/08/2012
Its not the end of the world but a beggining of a new. possibilities of tellepathic abilities and the transgreession into seeing our full potential spiritually. there are now five elements, earth, wind, water, fire, and ether. We will find on our own journies a similar consensus ... a natural spiritual heirchy as well as where we are in such, and find our own communication with the divine... ford wants to be on the brink of that their think pink campaign against breast cancer is great start. you can only be defeated if they defeat your mind.....natural and holistic healing as well as spiritual is on the rise. Tap into that energy and find out what they can do to help heal mother earth and be more "green" including their vehicles and benefits should show for consumer and for coorperation. - xoxo stacey dec 7, 2012
Timothy Y 12/07/2012
On the police interceptors could you try a little harder to make the wheels uglier? The wheels you have put on this wonderful vehicle takes so much away from it. Why don’t the manufactures’ of police vehicle understand WE police officers would like to have a good looking vehicle to drive? Remember this is our office. Less put these ugly wheels on all your products and see how people like it. Come on get off a few bucks and put a good l@@king wheel on these vehicles.
Pat Riley 12/07/2012
Since this article is about the "Future" then the topic of vehicle "Black Boxes" should be addressed. The private advocacy group, Electronic Privacy Information Center, is raising such a stink about this. Although, (it is my belief that such groups are extremely liberal), I'm sure that everyone associated with this group would say that aircraft black boxes are definitely required as they provide information that might help protect "so many lives". That would equate to around 200 people during a routine 3-4 hour flight. Unfortunately I drive in, around and past more people than that in 10 minutes on the Southern California freeways. Don't those people deserve the same "protection" in that 10 minutes as those on the commercial flight? And I say "hell yes" to being able to use the information to determine "cause, fault and responsibility" for accidents.

Pat Riley
CPD (Retired)
Trends that Ford Sees Shaping the Years to Come
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