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Falcon is getting there, says Ford boss

Comeback kid: The Falcon G6E is one of the new breed of cars attracting private buyers back to Ford.

Ford Falcon sales improving as word gets around

Ford logo9 Mar 2009

PRIVATE buyers are warming to Ford’s FG Falcon as the memory of the unloved 1998-2002 AU fades.

Ford also credits no-nonsense marketing for some of the sales gains in February when the Falcon scored a 32.3 per cent share of the large-car segment – its best performance since September last year.

Speaking before the February figures were released, Ford Australia president Marin Burela said he was quietly confident the FG Falcon – less than one year old – was building a following despite the absence of many fleet buyers who have fled to the medium and small car classes.

“We are starting to see a little bit of interest and that is moving the Falcon in the right direction,” Mr Burela said at the Melbourne motor show.

“The car is slowly starting to make its presence known. It’s like all of these things it takes time,” he said.

The Falcon’s market share improved in 2008 from 25.5 to 27.8 per cent of a smaller large car segment, still a fair way behind the Commodore’s share of 44.5 per cent.

27 center imageLeft: Ford Ausrtralia president Marin Barela. Below: Ford's Falcon range.

Although the Falcon’s large-car market share eased back to 26.8 per cent in the notoriously flakey month of January, the upward trend was resumed in February.

Ford sold 2386 Falcons in February, represented a share of 32.3 per cent (Commodore 45.7 per cent).

Mr Burela indicated the Falcon might still be haunted by the reputation of the AU Falcon and its radical styling.

“People remember us for the things we did three, four, five years ago,” he said.

“They don’t as yet understand us for what we are today and what we are going to be tomorrow.

Mr Burela said that in the past, most people would go into a dealership and buy the entry level Falcon.

“All of a sudden, you know what? People have woken up to the fact that the Falcon G6E is a world class car.” Mr Burela said the wife of a European senior diplomat in Australia phoned the company looking for assistance in buying a new Fiesta “We put her in touch with a dealer, she went in and drove out with the new Fiesta.” Her husband had been driving an Audi, Mr Burela said.

“He then contacted the company and asked what he had to do to get a G6E turbo.

“We are getting people like that interested in our products. That’s such a huge change.” The advertising campaign promoting the fact that the Falcon was the country’s first locally made five-star car had also had an effect on who was calling in to Ford dealers.

“People are coming in now and asking to see the car with the five stars. That’s a real change.”

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