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Ford's new president ‘not disheartened’ on Falcon
Lights are on: Ford's new boss reckons consumers need to better understand just how good the FG Falcon is.
New Ford Australia boss believes better sales and marketing needed for new Falcon
3 October 2008
FORD AUSTRALIA’S new president and CEO Marin Burela is confident that improved sales and marketing can help pull the FG Falcon and soon-to-be-updated Territory out of their respective sales troughs.
He also believes that Ford Australia’s strength in making class-leading as well as globally competitive vehicles means that it “is very much part of the (global) requirements” and has a firm place in the Ford manufacturing world in the future.
Speaking to GoAuto at the Paris motor show this week, Mr Burela said Ford Australia must better communicate the world-standard virtues of its vehicles in order to motivate consumers into buying cars like the Falcon, Ute and Territory.
He said he had faith that new-car buyers will purchase once they become aware of the competitiveness of the latest model Fords.
Mr Burela also said he was not convinced the global downturn will eventually sound the death knell for the large cars that Ford makes at its Broadmeadows plant.
His comments came after Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally stated in Paris that the Blue Oval marque – under the banner “One Ford” – must play to its strengths in a global industry that is basically divided into 60 per cent small cars, 25 per cent medium cars and 15 per cent large vehicles.
Europe, ‘The Americas’ and the Asia-Pacific region each account for roughly 30 per cent of the total volume.
“When you look at what Alan said, and he was quite right, you have to look at The Americas, and that is a heavily skewed large-car market,” Mr Burela said.
“When you start to swing that back to medium and small cars, it then starts to immediately influence the distribution of small, large and medium cars. So … I think we have to be realistic.
“There has been a change in the Australian industry… but let’s just take it one step at a time.
“I think what we need to do is go back and say: the things that we do we need to be good at what we do – I think we have a great product portfolio in Australia (by the way) – but what I think we need to do is make sure that our consumers understand and see the value (of the cars we build), and I think we will (then) be able to move forward as a result of that.
Left: Ford Fiesta and S-Max.
“I am not disheartened. I think we have a job to do and I think we have to get on with doing it.”
Mr Burela is also counting heavily on the upcoming all-new Fiesta making a big splash in the light-car scene in the next few months, along with the facelifted LV Focus range.
“I head back in time for the Sydney motor show, and I am really looking forward to that because we will be revealing in Australia for the first time the new Fiesta,” he said.
“It’s going to be a debut for the Australian market, and I think it is going to be a fantastic event, and once again, it is a great product for Australia. We are building a great portfolio of products for Australia.
“And the advantage Australia has, quite frankly, is that it now has adequate global product that may have previously not quite worked out for Australia in the past.”
The ‘One Ford’ ethos is also likely to benefit Mr Burela and his team, as Ford takes a more systematic approach to developing vehicle lines with worldwide appeal.
“Now, as (new models) are being developed and designed, Australia is very much part of the requirements, and that is a significant shift from what we may have done once upon a time, going back into the past.
“If you look at the Fiesta, there is absolutely nothing about that vehicle that would ever tell you that this was not in the minds of the designers when they were designing it, with respect to Australia.
“This is a ‘big’ small car, with a level of craftsmanship, quality, appointments, and ambience … that makes you believe that you are in a bigger vehicle than you actually are.
“We are very, very excited about it. And we are very happy with what we have done.”
Asked whether this means Australia is likely to see a wider selection of overseas models such as the lauded S-Max people-mover, Mr Burela stated that getting better results in every model from the Fiesta to the Territory was the most urgent task at hand.
“Well, it is too early to talk about what the future will bring,” he said.
“I think our first priority is to make sure that we deliver success with what we’ve got, and then start to look at how do we move forward with what is on offer within the (global) Ford portfolio.”
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