But among Black shoppers, the Silverado sits in fifth place this year, up from seventh in 2019, and Ram has fallen to eighth from fifth. The Silverado is the second-bestselling vehicle among Hispanics, behind the Honda Civic.
Bland remembers a time before the Great Recession when it wasn’t uncommon to see people owning multiple vehicles suited for varied tasks.
One might be a big family-hauling utility vehicle, while one was a luxury model and another was a compact car with good mileage that people could zip around town in.
But times are tougher, Bland said, and garages may not be as full as they once were. Owning fewer vehicles means consumers need their investments to do more. Pickups have met this call over the years with growing utility, offering plush interiors that can provide a luxury experience, handle work if necessary and carry families.
Hurt said Ford takes pride in the capability and durability of its pickups. But Black consumers, he said, want to hear more, with messaging about design, connected vehicle technology and safety features resonating well.
Hurt said the HBCU tour was a concerted effort to grow Ford’s consumer base and make sure the brand is as inclusive as possible with its approach.
In addition to the in-person events, Ford ran an F-150 spot last year called “Ode to the Builders” aimed at Black consumers.
The spot, narrated by actress Angela Bassett, was filmed in Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan and featured several African-American workers.
That followed a digital campaign for the F-150 targeting Black audiences in 2018.
Bland, who has monitored auto advertising for years, believes Ford was the first automaker to craft a full-size pickup ad campaign specifically for Black consumers.
“If you follow the data and commit resources,” Bland said, “you can reap the results.”