Everyone wants to give their Mustang that personal touch, but not everyone wants to change a colour, or mess with that fine factory paint. The decal has grown up, and vinyl wraps are growing in acceptance and popularity. Ford knows that, so the company has opened www.fordcustomgraphics.com, offering customizable vinyl designs for the Fiesta, F-150 and, of course, Ford Mustang. Eventually graphics will be available for the whole Ford line.
“Ford knows that customers want a vehicle to be all their own,” said Jim Abraham, Ford’s Licensed Accessories manager. “The Ford Custom Graphics website complements our strong accessory portfolio and enables customers to put a personal stamp on their vehicle.”
The whole setup is online, and is about as easy as checking your e-mail.
“You click on your vehicle and its exterior color, select the graphics you like, and then the website will show you exactly how the designs will look on your car or truck,” explained Abraham.
Approximately 50 designs were created for each vehicle and they’re available in a variety of colors and sizes designed with the customer in mind. Ford is targeting the younger buyer for the Fiesta, and believes they’ll be keen on fun designs incorporating bubbles, arrows, dots or flowers.
No bubbles for the pony riders or pickup owners -- yet.
“Mustang owners might prefer race-themed graphics like stripes, flames or matte black accents, while our F-150 customers might like something a little more rugged like camouflage or a faux diamond plate aluminum look,” said Abraham. “The neat thing about the website is that we’re tailoring the designs to our customers.”
According to Abraham, the website will continue to evolve over time to meet consumer demand and expectations.
“The whole idea behind the program is to offer our customers new ways to personalize their vehicle and provide a new exterior look throughout the ownership experience,” he said. “In order to do this, we are going to keep revising the available graphics packages to give customers fresh new ideas to choose from.”
Without giving away too much detail, Abraham says that consumers can look forward to seeing custom graphics that leverage some Ford corporate sponsorships along with other categories like green driving.
Half the cost of custom paint
Ford Custom Graphics offers customers the look of custom-painted designs, but without the expensive price tag, according to Tom Stemple, chief executive officer of Original Wraps, Inc., a provider of “on-demand” custom graphics to the automotive industry and the company that developed the website for Ford.
“Vinyl wraps are typically half the cost of custom paint work,” he said. “Another advantage is that they can be easily removed if the customer wants a new design or decides to sell the vehicle. Paint is permanent, and custom-painted vehicles are often much more difficult to resell.”
In addition, all of the custom graphics feature 3M Scotchprint On-Demand quality vinyl. They are professionally installed at Ford dealerships and include a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty.
Have it your way
Forty years ago, if you wanted to personalize your vehicle you hung a pair of fuzzy dice from the rearview mirror or slapped a trendy sticker on your bumper. Today, the automotive aftermarket has grown into a $31.85-billion industry and includes everything from grilles and custom body kits to interior accents and performance parts.
With products like custom graphics and a variety of other vehicle accessories, Ford is aiming at a larger slice of the aftermarket pie.
“We are doing everything we can to be on the leading edge of trendy new product offerings, and the idea of on-demand custom graphics is a great example of that,” said Abraham.
According to Sheryl Connelly, manager of Ford Global Trends and Futuring, the growing interest in vehicle personalization mirrors a broader societal trend.
“The one-size-fits-all model isn’t really relevant to today’s consumers, and it’s not necessarily a desire to stand out from the crowd. It’s more a desire not to be lost in the masses,” she said. “People are personalizing everything – cellphones, computers and clothing – and it’s no different with automobiles.”
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