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The Father Factor

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I have driven a Ford lately

Besides a house, a car is probably the biggest purchase you will make in your life. And one of the pivotal times in your life when you decide to buy a car is when you are going to have kids. You have to say sayonara to the awesome, but impractical sports car in favor of something that can carry several passengers, luggage, groceries, pets, sports equipment, etc.

For me, this decision came in June of last year. My wife was 2 months pregnant, and we had just brought home a puppy who would grow to become a 70-pound adult dog. My 2002 Ford Taurus was starting to show signs of age, and I wanted something that would allow me to simultaneously transport a car seat, a large animal, me, and my wife. Since I can’t put a dog in a trunk, I knew it was time for an SUV.

I had always liked the design of the Ford Edge, and I had a great experience with my workhorse Taurus. The research I did online revealed that the Edge had been recognized as one of "Best Cars for Families" in 2007 by AAA and Parents magazine. It earned this title for its safety features, the ease of car seat installation, the ample interior space, and other family-friendly features.

That was all I needed to see. I went over to the Ford dealership in early July and purchased my low mileage 2008 Ford Edge.

It was an immediate hit with the dog. He loved to hop in the rear cargo space and go for rides. And it was large enough for him to sleep comfortably in during our 6-hour drive to our vacation spot that year. During the vacation, we had the ability to carry beach chairs, umbrellas, and other beach equipment while my wife and I sat in the front and the dog lazed in the rear cargo space.

Then, six months later, our son was born. As advertised, the car seat was very easy to install, and I felt safe driving our baby around.

And it still appeals to my “guyness.” It looks cool, has great acceleration, and a good sound system. Overall, I am very happy with my purchase.

The irony is that Ford did this without ever marketing to me as a father. Think about what brands like Ford could accomplish if they intentionally target dads as consumers and sell them on the family-friendliness of their products. Most families are two-car families, which likely means that both mom and dad have “their car.” The decision to buy the Edge for family purposes was totally my decision.

The “dad market” is still largely untapped, but more and more brands are starting to see the wisdom of reaching out to fathers, who are increasingly making home purchasing decisions. There is a huge opportunity here for Ford and others to really own the dad space. I look forward to seeing it happen.

The Father Factor Blog: News, tips, and tools for dads and those helping dads.

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