Special Coverage

SAE World Congress

Ford Motor Co. is turning to the web to determine what automotive features and technologies consumers are longing for.

Mark Fields, president-The Americas, announces the launch of the “Your Ideas” section of The Ford Story website, at an industry event held in conjunction with the 2010 SAE International World Congress in Detroit.

Through the new portal, visitors to the site are invited to “submit, share and suggest” ideas and technologies they think fit in the automotive space, the auto maker says.

“The Ford Story has connected with customers because it’s a place where Ford is sharing its successes and challenges in a more open and transparent way,” Fields says in a statement.

“We now see it as a platform to further the conversation driving innovative ideas, just as we engage others outside the automotive sector, such as university students for research, suppliers for their expertise, and other industry leaders,” he says.

Submissions to the “Your Ideas” section will be reviewed and rated by other forum members. Ideas that receive the most “thumbs up” from viewers will be elevated to a “most-popular” list and reviewed by Ford’s advanced product planning and marketing teams.

The strategy falls in line with Ford’s recent push to more heavily leverage social media to better learn the wants of consumers.

“We are embracing traditional consumer market research, studies and focus groups by turning to the social web as an innovative way of generating new vehicle feature ideas,” Joe Pierucci, manager of global advanced product strategy, says in a statement.

Ford says the new forum covers the “automotive gamut,” soliciting consumer suggestions on categories ranging from vehicle connectivity and comfort and convenience to fuel economy, performance and safety.