Ford uses fuel economy and technology to chase VW in Germany

In the United States, Ford has raised its revenue per car by over $4,000 in just the last three years, but travel to the far side of the Atlantic and the blue oval doesn't always have such a blue chip reputation. In Germany, most consumers consider Ford a "discount brand." As a result, most Fords sold in Germany lean toward the inexpensive end of the auto spectrum. Ford captures seven percent of the market in Germany, good enough for fifth place, but that's only about a third the market share of Volkswagen AG.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally isn't content with this position. He hopes to better Ford's share of the German market using the same tools that helped the Dearborn-based company gain market share and revenue in the US: fuel economy and technology.

In an effort to increase the value of vehicles sold in Germany, the voice-activated Sync communication will learn to sprech Deutsche in 2012. Ford also plans on to bring both hybrid and pure electric models of its vehicles to the German market in 2013 – presumably the EV versions of the Focus and C-Max, both of which are part of the 19 percent growth Ford has experienced in the German market this year.

Germany's economy may not be growing as quickly as it was a few years ago, but it is still growing. It is also the single largest market in Europe. Improving the brand's image in Germany will be critical to gaining a toehold for Ford's EV and hybrid cars outside the US.

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