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Burela pumps Ford dealers
Ford boss works up dealer morale as company adjusts to tough conditions
20 Apr 2009
FORD Australia president Marin Burela has visited most Ford dealers around Australia in his first six months in the top job at Broadmeadows, to address issues of morale in a tough new competitive environment.
The former small-car global product chief, who was responsible for the latest Ford Fiesta and European Ka as well as the next-generation Focus, said he was now confident the dealers were rejuvenated to properly get the Falcon message out there to consumers.
“With Falcon in particular, we went out there and spoke to our dealers about being bold and being up-front,” Mr Burela said.
“And you will find that if you go to many dealers, they will now have slogans like ‘Home of the Award Winning Falcon!’“Our dealer body is so energised – in terms of the future and where Ford’s brand fits to where we’re heading.
“When I first arrived six months ago, I was extremely concerned that our dealer body was fragmented, it wasn’t ready to move forward, it wasn’t quite sure what Ford stood for, it wasn’t really connected with our product line up.
“Over the last three months, as I’ve travelled around Australia to talk to people, show them, educate them, there is a renewed sense of urgency, energy, optimism, an absolute desire to win.”
Left: Ford Falcon XR6.
Mr Burela believes that Ford Australia’s decision to cut worker numbers and production shifts – among other difficult decisions – means that the company and its dealers are now much better placed to grow in the tough market conditions.
“Going out there doing special vehicle packs, to communicate different derivatives, is a very viable way of doing it,” he stated.
“The XR series is one of the best and one of the most desirable large-sized brands almost in its own right in Australia. When we went out and launched the XR campaign, we found ourselves in the rather embarrassing situation we could not produce enough XRs to meet demand.
“In fact, we got to the point where we were bringing in imported materials, and paying extra freight, so we could build the car.
“Territory – I am currently building every Territory to customer order. When I came to Australia six months ago, Ford – like all of our competitors in Australia – was inundated with high levels of inventory and stock throughout the country.
“The Ford Motor Company right now has the stocking position that is reasonably well balanced with demand. Every Territory that is built is one that has been ordered.
“And at the factory holding area you will find that there are very few Falcons that are out there sitting on the grass that have not been ordered. We are building cars to demand.
“We took the hard decisions last year in terms of balancing production throughput, to the demand of the vehicles. We are watching it almost on a weekly basis, and we are fine-tuning our throughput based on where the industry is heading. And to date we have been very successful in doing that.
“And I would like to think that we will continue to be successful.
“The industry this year, we’re still saying that it will fall somewhere between 850,000 and 880,000 (units), but as the months move on it seems more evident that it will fall closer to the 850,000 rather than the 880,000 level.
“But even in that case – we have a great portfolio of cars to compete. And it is our job to go out there and do so.”
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