It’s one of the most anticipated cars of the year.
It has a 252 hp turbocharged engine.
It costs $24,495.
It comes with a $299 video camera.
Of course it does.
Ford has begun taking orders for the 2013 Focus ST, the hottest high-performance hatchback the automaker has ever sold in the United States, which launches later this year. With its 252 hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, it aims to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI and Mazdaspeed3 for the hearts and minds of the kind of young hot shoes who aren’t into the Mustang muscle car thing, and early buzz surrounding the car is good.
But to sweeten the deal, Ford is giving the first 1,000 customers who place a pre-sale order on the car a free GoPro HD Hero2 camera – one of those little silver boxes you see stuck to the heads and gear of nearly every extreme sports star these days so they can give you a first-person view of their antics on YouTube.
Meanwhile, through the end of July Scion is bundling its teeny tiny iQ microcar with a Sony PlayStation Vita portable gaming device that includes a special edition of the MotorStorm RC racing game featuring a remote-control version of the toylike iQ. The idea plays off what Sicon says are the small, fun and functional designs of both products.
But are freebies like this really necessary to move the metal?
Polk VP of Marketing and Industry Analysis, Lonnie Miller says offers like this are an effort to “rally around the target demographic,” rather than a make or break proposition. They can help to get the cars onto the shortlist of a potential customer, but are more about adding value and making someone feel even better about a purchase they probably would’ve already made.
Miller likens it to a Gen Y version of Lexus giving away Coach luggage with its ES 300 sedan back in 1996, enhancing the overall experience of ownership. Volkswagen tried the same thing with younger buyers with Trek and K2 editions of the Jetta that came with a bike and skis or a snowboard.
Ford spokesperson Chris Terry says that including the GoPro cameras facilitates something many Focus ST buyers probably would’ve gone out and done on their own. Posting track day videos online, he says, “is a cultural phenomenon and Ford wants to be a part of it.”
It can also act as a form of free viral marketing, as early videos of the car in action are sure to get tons of views, and Ford will be engaging owners via Facebook and encouraging them to post videos online.
Now if it’d just throw in a set of floor mats with the rest of its cars, everyone would be happy.