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Ford Rivals P.T. Barnum's Marketing Prowess, Via F-150 SSV Package

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On: Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 5:14PM | By: Chris Salamone

Ford Rivals P.T. Barnum's Marketing Prowess, Via F-150 SSV Package

References to mid-19th Century circus advocates aside, Ford is a company known for relentless self-promotion. Perhaps surprisingly then, in many cases Ford’s colorful advertising is backed by products which command the respect and credibility so boldly called for. But, on the flip side, the company’s crackshot public relations team occasionally over fires the marketing cannon. Ford’s recent F-150 Special Services Vehicle Package press release falls into category two.

Pictured in the press release are two images of Ford F-150s, presumably equipped with the Special Service Vehicle Package, themed appropriately for Fire Rescue and Police. And a quick scan of the release’s headlines suggests that the optional package will come at “no-charge” to fleet customers.

Of course that doesn’t mean fleet customers will get Fire Rescue or Police equipped vehicles at no charge. That would make far too much sense. In this instance, what you see…is not what you get.

“Our fleet customers have been asking us to create this option for F-Series trucks,” said Ford Government Sales Manager Tony Gratson. “We’re confident the current and updated 2013 F-150 equipped with the SSV Package will be of particular interest to our government customers with rugged jobs such as law enforcement, firefighting, and national and state park patrols.”

Yes, the F-150 is a great candidate to fulfill the needs of some of our country’s most important citizens. Donning the Special Services Vehicle package, the vehicle’s standard front seating loses the center portion in lieu of in-cab aftermarket equipment to be added by fleet customers (e.g. police communications). Then the F-150 front seats are upholstered in cloth, while the rear bench receives vinyl. To top it off, SSV equipped trucks are given 220 amp alternators for the extra juice to power said equipment.

While these might seem like a lot of goodies to add on at no charge, fleet customers are actually losing standard issue items found on the base model F-150, in exchange for vinyl in the rear, an empty space up front, and a power source. Second, and most importantly, the SSV package will ONLY be offered with Ford’s two mid-range engines: the 5.0-liter V8 and 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost.

For the record, those engines are $1000 and $2395 over the base offering 3.7-liter V6 – and less fuel efficient.

So the SSV package is really a cleverly disguised up-sale of Ford’s base model F-150, which fleet customers typically flock to. Please Ford, nobody likes a snake oil charmer.

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