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Adventra no rival

Towering: Ford's boss Tom Gorman believes Territory will stand tall against the new Adventra V6.

Ford Australia boss shrugs off Holden’s hopes to rival Territory with its new Adventra V6

Ford logo21 Feb 2005


THOSE that expected Ford to be quaking in its corporate boots following the launch of Holden’s Adventra V6 to rival the Blue Oval’s segment-leading Territory will this week be sorely disappointed.

“I’m not firing people because of the fact they are going to have a V6,” said Ford Australia president Tom Gorman in response to the launch of Holden’s first serious medium SUV entrant, which goes on sale in April.

“I would say that it’s a very different vehicle from the Territory. The consumer may decide it’s a vehicle that fits their needs. (But) I don’t think so – to me the Territory offers a lot for the consumer and is great value for the money, and the consumers recognise that. It has a whole set of product attributes that are quite different.” Mr Gorman said Territory’s stellar 2004 sales record was vindication for the $500 million it invested to develop Territory, which he claimed had helped increase the company’s market share while Holden’s fell.

“We chose to invest our resources by committing finances into a product called Territory, which has been extremely successful,” he said.

“If I were them (Holden), I’d under-promise and over-deliver. One of the differences (is) you now know what the competitor looks like." Tom Gorman.

“They’ve chosen to invest their resources elsewhere, selling some small specialty vehicles. They have clearly made an investment in commercial vehicles, and they’ve launched Adventra. Our market share has gone up in the past two years, Holden’s has gone backwards in the last two years.” Mr Gorman said he was not surprised Holden had issued a conservative sales forecast of just 4500 Adventras in 2005 – 80 per cent of which are expected to be V6 models. The company sold just 2500 VYII Adventra V8s in 2004, well short of its 4800 sales estimate despite a $4000 price drop just months after launch.

“If I were them, I’d under-promise and over-deliver,” he said. “One of the differences (is) you now know what the competitor looks like.

“Before, when they were forecasting, they had no idea what Territory was and they probably didn’t believe what we were saying. And now the market has voted pretty positively in favour of Territory so you’d have to get a sense of ‘now the vehicle’s out there, we know what we’re up against’.

“Today, based on what they have, I think they sold 84 last month. I don’t think it’s a big issue at the moment. They might hit the market in a sweet spot, they might present themselves better, they might incentivise the deals in a big way – who knows? We’ll react to a certain degree, but I’m not firing people because of the fact they are going to have a V6.

“They’ve got a different business model. They’ve really expanded their exports and maybe that’s what they’re focused on. And maybe that’s how they measure themselves. But we’ve got a formidable competitor and they’re not doing this for practice.” While Mr Gorman admitted Territory has had “clear sailing” in the medium SUV segment over the past six months, he said competition would heat up in 2005, especially from former segment leader Toyota. Holden is also expected launch an all-new medium SUV here in 2006.

“This is going to be an interesting year because a lot of guys are going to come after us,” he said.

“We do stick out as having been incredibly successful since the launch of this vehicle. They’re going to come after us: some with products, some with aggressive pricing and some with marketing.

“I think Toyota has a history of being a very aggressive marketer here in Australia.” To counter this in the longer term, a number of Territory derivatives are known to be in the pipeline, but Mr Gorman refused to be drawn on which will appear first and when.

“We have other Territory developments we’re working on at the moment that we’re not in a position to talk about,” said Mr Gorman, who confirmed off-road, diesel and performance versions were the most asked-about future Territory models.

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