Ford Motor Co. plans a major marketing initiative for the new Focus compact car that plays on the lessons the automaker learned in launching the Fiesta Movement.
Ford will select 100 people from around the world to test-drive the Focus compact in Europe for two days during the first quarter of 2011. The car goes on sale in the Europe and the United States around that time.
Those selected to drive will be asked to blog about it, write about it or make videos of the experience on Facebook, Ford says.
Ford used a similar social media campaign to introduce the Fiesta subcompact in the United States. It selected several social media savvy consumers to drive the Fiesta for several months and relay their impressions of the car on sites such as Facebook.
"Working with vibrant social media people was a lesson learned from the Fiesta Movement," Ford spokesman Mark Schirmer said. "It's about getting word of mouth."
As part of the program, called Focus Global Test Drive, Ford will donate up to $500,000 to various charities.
Those who would like to be selected for the program can submit videos to the Focus Facebook page.
Ford said those videos should demonstrate why they should be chosen to test the new Focus.
Ford unveiled the production versions of the new Focus at the Paris auto show today. The sedan and hatchback will be sold in the U.S. market, while Europe will also get a wagon version.
Ford also showed a performance version of the car that goes on sale in 2012.
The Focus ST is a five-door compact with a 2.0 liter direct injection, turbo-charged four-cylinder engine. Ford estimates it will generate more than 240 horsepower.