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The Reason Why Ford Calls Their F-150's "Lobo" in Mexico

Have you ever noticed that automakers have a tendency to call a car something in one country and then name that same car something completely different when it is sold in another country? They do it all the time, but sometimes they do it for rather interesting reasons. Such is the case with the Ford F-150. Did you know that in Mexico, it is called Ford Lobo? You might be wondering why. The truth of the matter is that it makes for a really good story and in the end, it is one that comes down to the company's bottom line.

Two Names, One Vehicle

The name change between the F-150 and the Lobo has confused car enthusiasts for years. Some of them have even taken to the internet, publishing questions on forums in hopes of discovering whether or not the Ford F-150 and the Ford Lobo are indeed the same vehicle.

You can rest assured that they are. In fact, there is almost nothing different about the two vehicles except for the name. The same pickup truck that is known as the Ford F-150 in the United States is called the Ford Lobo in Mexico. You're getting the same truck, but with a different name plate attached to it.

This is where the source of confusion has come from. For a number of years, people kept believing that they had to be two entirely different vehicles. Some would even go as far as searching online for information about the Ford Lobo, only to end up with tons of pages about the Ford F-150 showing up in their search history.

Some people even arrived at their own conclusions that the Lobo was some mysterious vehicle sold only in Mexico that simply wasn't available to individuals living in the United States. As it turns out, that isn't the case. The reason for the name change is a good one, but it's nothing nearly as mysterious as an entirely different vehicle that no one outside of Mexico has ever laid eyes on.

The Reason for the Name Change

Remember how the reason for the name change is an interesting one? It all comes down to vehicle sales. Back in the 1990s, Ford noticed that its F-150 pickup truck was not selling so well in Mexico.

They were concerned that people had simply lost interest in the vehicle. That's when their marketing team decided to do something that was rather unique, even quite trend-setting at the time.

They left the vehicle exactly as it was and changed the name. That's how the F-150 became the Lobo. They chose this name because it appealed a great deal to young individuals in Mexico, especially during the 1990s when the name change was first initiated.

In Mexico, the word Lobo means wolf, something that young individuals in that country are often drawn to. You have undoubtedly seen ad campaigns in the United States that were geared directly at young males who were full of adventure, with testosterone pumping through their veins.

That was the demographic that Ford was going for and that was precisely why they chose the name Lobo. They wanted to attract the attention of the young males that were in their twenties during that time. More importantly, they wanted them to associate that particular vehicle with the feeling of masculinity, adventure and control.

Rising Sales

As it turns out, the marketing team at Ford knew exactly what they were doing. It didn't take more than a few months for sales to dramatically increase. By the time a year had passed, the Ford Lobo was easily one of the most popular vehicles in the entire country.

The truly interesting thing is that the automaker has never looked back. The vehicle is still known under the same name in Mexico today as it was 30 years ago and it is still experiencing a high level of sales. This brings about one of the most interesting topics to be discussed in the world of marketing.

It makes you think about how people associate one thing with another, not to mention how those perceptions affect someone's desire to either purchase something or completely ignore it.

Marketing Genius

It's important to remember that no changes to the vehicle were made, as previously discussed. The only thing that changed was its name. In less than a few months, people went from being entirely disinterested in purchasing that particular vehicle to clamoring to get their hands on one.

It all comes down to the way that they perceive this automobile and how it makes them feel when they think about driving it. That fact alone proves the importance of a solid marketing campaign. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about automobiles or something entirely different, the way a product is marketed can have a dramatic impact on whether or not it is successful.

After all, Ford was close to pulling the plug on the F-150 in Mexico. The name change was a last-ditch effort, one that few thought would make any appreciable difference. Obviously it worked. It also provided an amazing name for one of Ford’s most treasured vehicles.

Of course, it also makes people in the United States wonder why the vehicle is still named after some boring set of numbers that don't mean anything at all to the overwhelming majority of individuals.

Even people that have been driving Ford F-150s for the majority of their lives can't usually tell you why it's called an F-150. For most, it's just the designation that Ford decided to put on this specific vehicle, one that doesn't particularly make a lot of sense to many individuals. Apparently, they had all this figured out in Mexico a long time ago.

The rest of us will just have to live with a name that is far less intriguing. However, it is interesting to ponder why that name change hasn't taken effect in more places. Perhaps someday it will.

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Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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