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Ford defends Focus
Ford boss claims Focus sales are “exceeding expectations”, despite slump
18 Oct 2010
FORD Australia president Marin Burela claims the ageing Focus small car is actually selling better than anticipated, even though it has dropped 16.7 per cent in a segment that has climbed by almost 14 per cent in 2010.
Mr Burela said that, for a model close to the end of its model cycle and with its successor already in the spotlight abroad, the existing LV-series Focus is holding up remarkably well.
Speaking at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney last week, Mr Burela said Focus is selling to plan since small car buyers are choosing the higher series (and presumably more profitable) LX, Zetec and XR5 Turbo models.
From top: Ford Focus RS, Ford MY2011 Focus, Ford MY2011 Focus ST, Ford Australia president Marin Burela.
He believes this will set the scene for the next-generation Focus to snare customers from higher-line competitors such as the Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf and Subaru Impreza.
Mr Burela confirmed that the next-generation Focus, which is set to be released in the third quarter of 2011, will initially be imported from Germany before switching to Ford’s new Rayong facility in Thailand (as GoAuto reported back in August).
Ford Australia is banking on it to double or even triple volume eventually due to a combination of more contemporary styling, improved value for money, and better supply (the South African-sourced model has suffered severely due to industrial action this year).
The existing Focus was released in Australia in June 2005, making it the oldest mainstream small-car contender still on sale in this country.
Mr Burela said the sell-out success of the $60,000 RS hyper hatch from Germany was also a great omen for Focus, describing it as “gone like the wind” despite the age of the current generation model.
“(In the past year) we’ve repositioned the Focus,” said Mr Burela.
“You will notice we do not sell the entry-level Focus. We sell mid-series and high-series we sell the XR5 at the top end.
“The new Focus will be incredible. Once we get that in and reposition – and we’ve done all the groundwork for that vehicle to make a splash – we will expect great things.
“(With the current Focus) we have just gotten the right balance (and so with next year’s model) we have to just get the new car in, get it established, bring in the new Thai plant (models) and off we go.
“We haven’t given up on the current Focus at all. It’s actually exceeding our expectations. We’re selling somewhere around 1000 per month, and we’re really pleased with that because we recognise it is moving into its later phase in the lifecycle.”
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