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USA: Ford to Spend Less Marketing Electric Car on Yahoo Show

Ford Motor Co. (F) plans to spend less to market its electric cars, choosing to reach consumers through digital media with Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) rather than television because of uncertain demand.

Ford’s digital-media campaigns tend to cost less than $10 million compared with as much as $100 million for a traditional marketing program, John Felice, general manager of Ford and Lincoln sales, said in an interview in New York. The company said it will market the Focus Electric on a reality television show on Yahoo! Screen, or screen.yahoo.com, that will feature celebrities and have teams competing to win the car.

“Because of the lack of awareness out there, people aren’t sure what kind of car they want,” Felice said. “Electric is going to grow, but we’re not sure what the consumer is going to want, so we have to be flexible.”

Ford is making electric versions of models it already produces, such as the Focus, with plans to triple output of hybrids and electric vehicles to more than 100,000 in 2013. Introducing a new electric or hybrid model would mean devoting a plant and marketing outlays to establish the new vehicle, something the company isn’t ready to do until demand is clearer, Felice said.

Ford’s strategy comes after difficulties some competitors had on new models, the executive said.
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