Interview: Bring on Tomorrow with Özgür Yücetürk

Özgür Yücetürk

We have talked with Özgür Yücetürk, our Deputy General Manager of Marketing, Sales and After Sales, about our new brand discourse, the New Ford Kuga, the Brand New Ford Puma, our electric light commercial vehicles, and what awaits us in an electric future! Enjoy reading!

Hi, Mr. Yücetürk. We have advanced to the furthest point we can reach with our “Go Further” brand strategy; and as a brand that experiences the future from today, we have determined our new brand strategy as “Bring on Tomorrow”. Can you tell us a bit more about this new brand motto?

We are in a great state of transformation. We are initiating this process by transforming our brand and tone of communication. We are reviving the core of our spirit and hitting the road to be the brand that recreates the automotive sector. We are aiming to be the brand that builds not dreams but the future! To do so, we take people on focus, with the technologies we develop according to the changing conditions of the world.

Our 10-year road map and action plan are ready. We say “Bring on Tomorrow” with our technologies that build the future today; such as electric vehicles, connectivity, and autonomous cars; as well as our supporting brand new and renewed vehicles. Very recently, we have addressed this issue on our Digital Brand Launch Communication. Our tone of communication will now be more energetic, courageous, and stronger. Because we are the brand making dreams come true and carrying the future to today. We are ready to create the future for today, so we say "Bring on Tomorrow".

An exciting future has begun to be experienced and carried on today. Together, we are witnessing the rise of electric vehicles in America and Europe. How do you evaluate the electric vehicle market in our country?

As Ford, in the world of electric vehicles; we will strengthen our sales with the electric vehicle versions we have added to our product range as of 2020, in accordance with our principle of providing the right products and services to our customers by following up closely the customer expectations, at the right time and when they are ready.

The interest in electric vehicles in our country is quite high, in parallel with the interest in technology. With the increase of charging infrastructure investments, I guess this interest will come to even higher levels. In our country, where 173 electric and 4,698 hybrid cars were sold in the first 6 months of 2020, we can see that the market share of electric models is 0.1% and the market share of hybrid models is 2.8%. If we take a look at the projections relating to the vehicle production capacity by the time it is 2023, the reflection is 1.7 million vehicle productions in Europe and about 30 thousand electric vehicle productions in Turkey. The best options for introduction to electric vehicles, which will respond to concerns and question marks of customers in the transition to electric vehicles; such as the service life and the second-hand value of the vehicle or the fear of being stranded on the road, is through self-charging hybrid vehicles.

As Turkey's commercial strength, we are rewriting the dynamics of commerce and continue to give life to Turkey's economy by offering for the first time in Turkey; Ford Tourneo Custom Hybrid, Ford Transit Custom Hybrid, and Ford Transit Van Hybrid electric vehicle technologies that are ahead of the industry.

When we take a look at our passenger cars, Puma Hybrid, one of our SUVs, is among the first vehicles we will offer hybrid vehicle versions in our strategy to enter electric vehicles. Our Fiesta Hybrid and Focus Hybrid models will follow Puma in this area.

The New Ford Kuga, Ford Puma, and IVOTY award-winning PHEV light commercial vehicles are the reflections of our "Bring on Tomorrow" strategy in Turkey. Our light commercial vehicles have recently begun their test drives in Ankara; how are the feedbacks?

The first impressions of the test drive in Ankara show that the users are satisfied. Ford Otosan engineers use data analytics methods to prepare reports similar to those in London, Cologne, and Valencia, where Ford has similar applications. These studies will soon be shared with the public.

Could you tell us about the product development, production phase, and marketing efforts of our IVOTY award-winning light commercial vehicles? Could you tell us about the models we are exporting?

The Transit Custom project, where we have expanded Ford's electric vehicle portfolio and carried our leadership in the commercial vehicle market to another dimension, is also important in terms of being the first electric commercial vehicle production within Ford. Being the lead in the commercial vehicle market in Turkey combined with our production experience in this field; our leadership in Transit Custom is an innovation and technology export for the automotive industry in other markets.

Processes such as the design of the project and the prototype production were completed in 2018. The necessary changes were made in the production design in 2019 resulting in the start-up of the production of our electric commercial vehicles. The production processes of these vehicles continue to take place in an isolated area within our factory. All the processes are carried out in this special area by the Ford Otosan personnel, who have completed the necessary training. In this area, in addition to the production of our commercial vehicles, other special studies are also carried out to implement new technologies.

Getting back to the domestic market, the IVOTY award strengthened our pioneer role in the commercial vehicle segment in which we lead. Our electric vehicle move, which serves our mission to guide the automotive industry and commercial vehicle customers in this field, has attracted great attention. The high level of interaction of our target audience with our communication materials in this field, and the increase of visits to the pages of our relevant vehicles on our website, are just as pleasing as our market share values.

We continue to export our Transit Van Hybrid (MHEV) model to all European markets, along with the hybrid (MHEV) and rechargeable electric (PHEV) versions of our Transit Custom vehicle, which we are currently producing.

Could you give us some information about our electric vehicle models? How do they offer solutions making our lives easier?

We project that the place of electric vehicles in our lives and electrification will increase even more in the coming years. Incentive mechanisms can also play a role in this case. As you know, in many countries there are incentives in this regard. Turkey also has incentives but to a limited point. The expansion of these incentives will have a positive impact on the entire automotive market, also contributing to the penetration of electric vehicles. It is not easy to predict the rate of sales of electric and hybrid vehicles due to the tax structure and customer perspective. However, in order for us to be a pioneer in this field, it is very important that our product range is ready ahead of time for this revolution with electric/hybrid / high-tech models.

Our product range will be renewed and strengthened with new models within the framework of Ford's vision of electrification until 2030. Taking the first steps with the launch of Kuga and Puma this year, we can say that it will continue in the coming years.

In the past months, we launched our Puma model for the first time for sale in Turkey with the ST-Line package and we are offering our customers for the first time in Turkey, the innovative 1.0 L 155 PS EcoBoost hybrid technology in our SUVs product range.

In the new Kuga, our 2.5 L PHEV 225 PS Petrol Automatic option with the ST-Line package draws attention as our first electric vehicle.

As part of our electrification strategy, we are planning to bring hybrid versions of our other products such as Fiesta and Focus in 2021.

Could you explain the differences and innovations of the new Ford Kuga by comparing it with the old one?

The renewed Ford Kuga, Ford's best-selling SUV model in Europe, draws attention with its stylish design and stands out with its completely renewed wider interior offering a comfortable design and technological details.

The New Ford Kuga comes with a much more prestigious, smacking, and dynamic appearance thanks to its more stylish and elegant lines, headlights stretching backward, longer engine hood, more curvy rear window, expanding shoulder line, lower roofline, and long-wheelbase with flowing lines. The new Kuga is 44mm wider, 89mm longer, and has a 20mm longer wheelbase when compared to the previous generation. In addition, the new dimensions offer more shoulder and headroom to front and back seat passengers, despite the roof height being 6 mm lower. The new Ford Kuga offers class-leading 2nd-row legroom and flexible luggage space with its 150 mm forward-backward sliding back seat design. When compared to the previous generation, apart from the advanced aerodynamic features that contribute to fuel efficiency, in proportion with equivalent power and transmission option providing a weight advantage of up to 80 kg; New Ford Kuga, rises on Ford's new flexible front-wheel-drive platform. The new platform, which has an important share in new Kuga's crash safety, also reflects improved driving dynamics. While providing 10 percent more torsional rigidity, it creates more living space and offers an impressive and dynamic design at the same time.

Wide and spacious interior features such as; wireless charging feature, SYNC infotainment system with 8-inch color touch screen, premium B&O sound system, and the 12.3-inch digital display panel, in which the design changes according to different driving modes complete the advanced comfort gear. The New Ford Kuga, rated by Euro NCAP with the highest rating of 5 stars, offers superior safety with advanced technologies such as; Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Alignment Assistant with Stop and Go and Traffic Sign Recognition System, Ford Dynamic LED Headlight System, Eye Level Display Panel, New Active Parking Assistant and Hands-Free Tailgate.

The New Kuga also offers selectable drive mode technology for the first time. Apart from throttle response, steering wheel stiffness, and traction control; the system adjusts Kuga's driving character by interfering to shift timing for automatic models. The Slippery driving mode, which is offered as an addition to the Normal, Sport, and Eco driving modes, provides the driver higher driving safety on surfaces with less traction such as on snow and ice.

Puma is a new vehicle in our market. Which features does it stand out when compared with other vehicles in its class and other models in our product range?

We believe that the new Puma will give a new impulse to the B segment with its stylish design, innovative technologies, and features that make life and driving easier. Puma's interior design draws attention with its ergonomics, innovative approach, and comfort. The New Puma provides an uncompromising loading space as the leader of its class with its innovative MegaBox solution and washable 456 litres of luggage space. Developed to meet customer needs, Ford MegaBox, the first in its class, offers a deep and versatile storage area and is supported by Ford Hands-Free Tailgate technology. This additional storage area also offers an additional 80 litres of luggage space with 763 mm wide, 752 mm long, and 305 mm high dimensions.

The New Ford Puma brings a dynamic and powerful appearance with the low and curved roofline and the shoulder line that rises from front to back with further expanding backward. The horizontally formed two-piece taillight design not only offers a wider back view but also facilitates access and use of the luggage.

New Puma's interior design draws attention with its ergonomics, innovative approach, and comfort. Based on the gear, detachable and washable front and back seat covers are offered to help to keep the interior of the cabin as clean as day one. While lumbar support is offered for more comfort in the front seats, the increased wheelbase, vehicle height, and the front seat design with thin backrest provide an expansion in the living space inside the New Puma. In addition to this dimensional growth, a spacious interior environment is achieved with the opening panoramic sunroof design.

Thanks to the additional torque value provided by BISG, the system offers up to 50 percent more torque at the bottom end. Thus, a smoother and higher riding performance is delivered. Auto Start-Stop technology that restarts the engine in just 300 milliseconds contributes to the fuel budget.

The 12.3 '' digital display panel offered for the first time in the New Ford Puma, together with Kuga, provides a stylish opening screen and various customization options with configurations varying according to 5 different driving modes. It offers drivers an effortless and connected driving experience thanks to its advanced 8 "touch screen SYNC In-Car Infotainment System and wireless charging unit features.

Ford Puma, receiving 5 stars from Euro NCAP, is controlled by 12 ultrasonic sensors, three radars, and two cameras. The data obtained from all these systems are used to facilitate the driver's experience and to provide safer driving at times of driving, parking, and maneuvering.

Advanced driving assistance systems of the new Puma brings an easier, less stressful, and safer driving experience. Gear such as; Adaptive Cruise Control System with stop and go feature, Traffic Sign Identification System, E-Call, and Lane Tracking System provide less stressful and safe driving in both highways and in stop-and-go traffic. It offers superior safety to the driver with advanced technologies such as; Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross-Traffic Alert feature, Active Brake feature, Pre-Collision Assist, Post-Collision Braking, 180-degree angle spring and bicycle detection back view camera.

We Bring on Tomorrow, what awaits us after today?

While building the future, with its leading 600 km distance, superior performance, innovative technologies such as SYNC 4 complementing the unique Mustang spirit; Fully Electric Ford Mustang Mach-E is the newest and most ambitious member of our SUV family. First of all, we can't wait to bring Ford Mustang Mach-E, which has started pre-sales in certain countries in Europe, with our customers.

i-Deal applications are our main process management system; that enables us to manage the process end-to-end efficiently in all our interactions with our customers. All our focus is on creating more leads for the i-deal system and managing this effectively. Thanks to our marketing communications that include our personalized and target audience communications, we are expanding our funnel by bringing "more leads" to our i-deal system from the top of the funnel, and we have started making Customer Value Management more effective than ever.

According to the Customer Value Management outputs, we will be able to follow personalized customer journeys and thus, we will have the opportunity to serve our customers with personalized content. However, at every point in contact with our customers, our performance is determined by consultants, dealers, channels, and regions. We will also have the chance to measure and analyze breakdowns.

Researches show that 80% of the people who will buy a new car start their purchasing experience online.

Before visiting a dealer, customers browse the websites of the brands and examine in detail the videos and comments made on the forums about cars or commercial vehicles.

With the change of consumer habits, customers can make their purchasing decisions on digital platforms without going to a dealer. At this point, with Digital Studio, our customers can take the first step of the purchasing process in the digital world by choosing the vehicle they want with on a smart device. With Digital Studio, our customers can connect from wherever they want, between 12.00-22.00 when they are digitally active and have a special Digital Studio experience that will be offered online. We are working hard to make this experience more holistic and personalized. With the help of technology, we will continue to bring personalized and leading experiences to our customers.

We now know that; with connectivity, vehicles will become the biggest data sources.

In order to develop our personalized services, we, as Ford, will be able to use these data sources with Ford Pass for individual customers and Ford Pass Pro for fleets to provide instant data and services and to perform loyalty management more effectively.

There are 2 main points that our customers will physically experience our entire transformation:

One is our products - which are changing.

The other is our dealers.

Being a customer and future-oriented at every point we create our experience with our products, our communication, and our customer experience; we have started offering and will continue to offer; a brand new Ford brand to our customers.

We project that there will be times when the cities of the future become smart, all devices including automobiles talk to each other and this will be to improve the quality of human life. As Ford, we will also continue to lead this transformation with the development of innovations that will benefit humanity.