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Ford  Out of Focus: Ford is revamping its Focus marketing strategy after the small car slipped behind its smaller stablemate, the Fiesta.

Out of Focus: Ford is revamping its Focus marketing strategy after the small car slipped behind its smaller stablemate, the Fiesta.

Ford struggles to get both of its small cars firing on all cylinders

THE new Ford Fiesta is finally doing the kind of sales numbers it should, but the problem for Ford is that the Fiesta’s growth has been undone by a decline in sales of its larger stablemate, the Focus.

The Fiesta light car and Focus small car sell in different segments, and while small cars usually outgun light cars, Ford’s entrants are reversed.

VFACTS figures show the Fiesta and Focus have almost swapped positions in the past few years.

In 2008, the average monthly Fiesta sales result was just 509. That rose to an average of 738 in 2009, assisted by the launch of the new model in January of that year.

After two months, the Fiesta’s 2010 average stands at 1019.

The VFACTS data shows the Focus managed a monthly average of 1301 in 2008 before dropping to 924 in 2009. After two months, the 2010 average stands at just 658.

The start of the year is always volatile, so this low number might not be a true representation of Focus’s sales potential this year, but it is well behind the segment leaders.

The Fiesta situation seems to indicate the impact of fresh metal combined with a heavy marketing campaign.

Ford center imageLeft: Ford Fiesta Econetic.

Anyone who has gone near a TV in the past six months would have seen an ad showing the Fiesta Econetic parking in front of a Prius billboard that is torn down after the narrator states the Fiesta is now the most efficient car in Australia.

Ford Australia spokeswoman Sinead McAlary said the promotion of the Econetic Fiesta has generated a lot of showroom traffic.

“The Econetic is providing a significant amount of run-off,” she said. “A lot of people are coming in, interested in that car.

“Not all buy it, but they might end up buying another model in the Fiesta range.”

The new Fiesta generated attention straight from its launch, but the increasing attention afforded the Econetic model has given it a secondary boost towards the end of 2009 and early 2010.

So is the attention given to the Focus taking away potential customers from the Focus? Is it the case that either the Fiesta or the Focus will sell at a reasonable rate, not both?

“We can’t afford for that to happen,” Ms McAlary said. “We need to increase our market share of Focus.”

So what happened to the Focus? The car has never lived up to its potential, usually selling half or less of the rival Mazda3 which is largely the same car under the sheet metal.

Unlike the all-new Fiesta, Focus has battled on with only a light facelift in early 2009.

The next generation car, unveiled at the Detroit motor show in January, is not due in Australia until next year, so Ford Australia will have to have to work its magic with an old model.

The company has changed its promotional campaign for the Focus, concentrating on the mid-spec LX model instead of pressing the price-leading model that has to compete against cheaper cars such as the Hyundai i30.

“In the past we have focussed, excuse the pun, on the price-leader, but buyers of small cars have changed,” Ms McAlary said. “They are no longer simply buying a small car for the price. They might be downsizing from a larger car and they still want all the features.”


Ford  Out of Focus: Ford is revamping its Focus marketing strategy after the small car slipped behind its smaller stablemate, the Fiesta.



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