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Ford Takes a More Targeted Approach to Motorsport Sponsorship - (Australia)

July 3rd, 2008

Ford Australia today confirmed ongoing significant investment in V8 Supercar racing as part of the company's diversified sponsorship portfolio.

Ford's involvement in V8 Supercars will remain the company's single largest sponsorship and category investment however, moving forward, the company will target enhanced return on its motorsport investment through leveraging activities more closely linked to its performance car line-up.

"Motorsport is a key part of our brand strength in Australia," said Ford Australia Marketing & Sales Vice President Mark Winslow.

"The passion it generates amongst performance car enthusiasts is second-to-none, which is why it will continue to be important for our brand going forward. However, as the market diversifies and consumers face an ever-increasing array of vehicle choices, it is imperative that we target our vehicles and accompanying marketing messages in a manner that reflects that diversity.

"Like we do with our involvement with the Geelong Football Club, Cricket Australia and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, we will be looking to more proactively tie our motorsport sponsorship to relevant brand communications – particularly across our performance vehicle range."

As a result, from 2009 onwards, Ford Australia will target its direct motorsport sponsorship towards two successful race teams which provide a high level of leveraging opportunities and are integral to the performance success of the Ford brand.

Ford Performance Racing (FPR) and Stone Brothers Racing (SBR) will both benefit from ongoing sponsorship support from Ford Australia, while also working more closely together to deliver world-class engineering packages and resulting race wins for the FG Falcon.

Other currently sponsored Ford teams will also continue to be supported through the transition to racing the FG Falcon with the provision of initial FG race car shells, a crash panel program and ongoing engineering and technical support.

The company's long-standing sponsorship of the Formula Ford Championship will also continue, along with support for other motorsport feeder categories.

"A closer collaboration between Ford Performance Racing and Stone Brothers Racing will have race-win benefits for Ford, while also allowing us to be more involved in the positioning and marketing of the Ford brand in association with those two teams," said Winslow.

"Both teams will continue to run at least two cars each in the V8 Supercar Championship and all four of them will be predominantly blue, which will make them easily recognisable as Ford-supported vehicles.

"The increasingly competitive nature of the Australian automotive market makes it imperative that we have control and direction over how our brand is represented in every segment in which we compete.

"This more targeted strategy, in conjunction with our ongoing support for other Ford teams and sponsorship of the Formula Ford Championship, will allow us to obtain the best possible return for our investment."

FPR and SBR are long-time Ford teams with complementary areas of development capability. Ford Racing Manager Ray Price expects that closer collaboration between the two will have positive results for both teams.

"FPR is one of the dominant forces in V8 Supercars," said Price. "With expertise in all race applications, FPR will provide outstanding support to SBR and other Ford teams in the series.

"SBR is renowned for its engine development capability and will continue to play a leading role in ongoing development of the FG race engine. The combined knowledge of both teams can only bring positive results for the Ford brand in the V8 Supercar Championship."

Closer links between Ford's performance vehicle range and marquee drivers such as Craig Lowndes will also be generated as a result of the company's targeted approach to its V8 Supercar involvement.

"We look forward to working closely with Craig and other Ford-aligned drivers to link our performance success more closely to our relevant brand communications," said Winslow.

In addition, Ford will continue its long-standing sponsorship of the Formula Ford Championship.

"Formula Ford is the best possible entrance to racing available to young drivers," said Price. "It has played an integral role in the development of rising stars for many years and we look forward to continuing that association."

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