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Ford Falcon sales ‘will stabilise’
Falcon sales slide can be stopped, says Ford boss, but long-term future clouded
5 Jan 2012
By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in DELHI
FOUR-CYLINDER and LPG availability, as well as improved value in a new-look package, promise to arrest the Ford Falcon’s sales slide in 2012, despite its poorest-ever sales result of just 18,741 sales last year.
This is according to self-professed optimist and Ford Asia Pacific and Africa president Joe Hinrichs, speaking to the Australian media at the eve of the Delhi Auto Expo in India this week.
However, with questions raised about whether Ford can sustain the Falcon at its current annual sales rate in Australia over the next few years, the long-term future of Falcon is still up in the air.
The veteran Ford executive also said the Territory had the potential to ‘bounce back’ stronger than the venerable large sedan.
“At the current investment cycle we’re in we (can sustain Falcon) ... (but) we will have more to say over time about that,” he said.
“But it is a very important part of the product sales portfolio and we haven’t lost sight of that.” Ford says the absence of a dedicated LPG model for more than half of the year had hurt Falcon sales in 2011, particularly to the all-important fleet market.
“We’re continuing to invest in Falcon … and it is a very important part of the Ford portfolio,” he said.
Left: Ford Asia Pacific and Africa president Joe Hinrichs in Delhi.
“I am aware of (its 36.5 per cent sales slide in 2011) ... but the segment got smaller and our share of the segment got smaller.
“We made a conscious decision not to participate on some parts of the segment that weren’t as attractive to us.
“But in some of the fleet (business) we have to do better. The interesting thing about Australia is that the newer product (like Fiesta and Focus) is doing better, but the Falcon (sales performance) offsets that.
“So the most important thing we have to do is shore up that Falcon and Territory sales rate and continue to grow the incremental product that we are investing in.
“I think you’re starting to see – albeit in lower numbers that we like – a stabilisation of the volume of the Falcon, and with the new Ranger and Focus and the freshening of the Territory and eventually the EcoSport … I think we have the potential to start seeing the end of the decline.
“It has been largely been driven by Falcon, but that can only continue for so long.
“Call me an optimist, but I think with the combination of where we are on Falcon and what we’ve done with Territory, the EcoBoost is coming to Falcon and it is a very exciting proposition … and (with all the others) I think we can stop the market share loss.
“We’d like to (see a large car) rebound, but we don’t know where the segment will go. The segment has declined faster than we expected it to decline ... but at some point it stabilises but you don’t know when.
“I think Territory has more potential for rebound than Falcon, to be pragmatic about it.
“But we will see how EcoBoost performs with Falcon because I think it is a great opportunity for people to get back into the seat of the car and drive it.”
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