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Ford  Blue Oval chiefs: Tom Gorman (left) and Bill Ford (right).

Blue Oval chiefs: Tom Gorman (left) and Bill Ford (right).

Australian market is too mature to echo the Asian car sector boom, says Ford Oz boss

FORD Australia president Tom Gorman has endorsed Bill Ford’s recent assessment that sales for the Blue Oval brand would remain stagnant in the Australian market until at least 2014.

The Ford Motor Company’s chairman and chief executive made the prediction on a visit to South-East Asia last month.

In response, Mr Gorman would not be drawn on specifics for Ford but told GoAuto last week that the expansion in the Australian market as a whole would not continue at the same pace it had in recent years.

"Our outlook is that there will be some continued growth ... but we’re not talking of going from almost a million units (for the entire car market) this year to a 1.2 next year and 1.4 million the year after," he said.

"So when Bill (Ford) said relatively stable over the next five or six years, that would be what our call is."

He also said it was not possible to compare the Australian market with the emerging ASEAN markets or India or China.

"We are a more mature market and economy," he said.

According to Mr Gorman, much of the growth in the Australian car industry had been spurred on by declining tariff barriers.

"If you go back to ’96, the tariff barrier was 37.5 per cent and today it’s 10 per cent. So you’ve had sharp reductions in tariffs. Vehicles are about as affordable as they’ve ever been in Australia," he said.

"The Australian dollar, too, particularly in the last 18 months, has also strengthened immensely and that’s allowed a lot of the importers to pass on those benefits to the consumers.

"I think the economy has been managed extremely well over the past nine years so you’ve seen low interest rates, low unemployment and high levels of consumer confi dence and that has led a growth in the marketplace."



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