Automakers are constantly playing a guessing game to try to figure out local preferences and what options buyers are likely to want. Ford is finding some surprises in the process, at least when it comes to options on its two most popular SUVs, Escape and Explorer.
For instance, sure, San Francisco Bay area residents are more likely to want their new Ford Escape or Explorer SUV equipped with the MyFord Touch infotainment system. They are, after all within a proverbial stone’s throw of Silicon Valley.
Who would ever expect Philadelphia to be the hotbed of demand for the most fuel-efficient turbocharged engines, and not L.A. or the upper Midwest where fuel prices can skyrocket?
“Some may be surprised to see Philadelphia top Ford’s EcoBoost engine list, but greener living has become a way of life no longer limited to the coasts as people try to save money at the pump,” says Sheryl Connelly, Ford head of global consumer trends, in a statement.
Then there are moonroofs, which one might expect would be popular in sunny places where people can open them pretty much year-round like Arizona or Texas. Wrong. They are most popular in New York
Dallas, however, has its own distinction. It’s the place where more people are likely to want Ford’s unique foot-activated tailgate. On the SUVs, motorists carrying kids or groceries need only to wave an angle under the rear of their vehicle to get the liftgate to open.
While San Francisco’s demand for fancy infotainment systems is 16 percentage points above the national average, Ford says the system is popular nationwide. More than half of all buyers opt for it.
In Seattle, about a third of buyers want a parking assist system, in which the vehicle can parallel park itself. Nationwide, it’s about one out of five.
“As public demand for practical and stylish advancements continues to skyrocket, metropolitan areas across the country remain key hubs for high-tech growth nationwide,” Scott Steinberg, technology analyst for strategic consulting firm TechSavvy Global, is quoted as having said by Ford.