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Ford attacks Holden's Korean strategy

Eurocentric: Ford's BFII Fairmont features a German-built six-speed auto.

Ford Oz spruiks European-ness as it takes a swipe at Holden's Korean-sourced models

Ford logo9 Oct 2006

By NEIL MCDONALD

FORD is using the "European-ness" of its BF MkII Falcon as a deliberate ploy to remind buyers that its range – from Fiesta to Focus – owes more to Europe than Asia.

In a loosely veiled reference to Holden’s move to source small and medium imports from Korea, Ford president Tom Gorman said he believed that by deliberately pushing the heritage of its small car range and the new Falcon’s Euro-inspired handling and refinement, it created "a point of differentiation for us".

As the gloves came off the Ford-Holden rivalry at the launch of the BF MkII Falcon last week, Mr Gorman acknowledged Ford’s range would use its European links to leverage sales.

Fiesta television advertising already heavily features a connection with its German heritage and Focus advertisements reinforce ride refinement.

"The question came up... and I commented that I really thought they (Holden) were the Korean car company," he said.

"They clearly have gone for a strategy of low-cost, bottom-end with their Korean line-up.

"It starts with small cars and it’ll flow into Captiva, I’m sure.

 center imageLeft: Ford Fiesta.

"We have a different model here. The vast majority of our products that aren’t locally sourced come out of Europe and we think that’s a competitive advantage for us in terms of how we position our cars.

"If you look at how we presented even the BF Falcon with the ZF six-speed and how we emphasised the European-ness of that and the engineering of it - we think it’s a very good point of differentiation and direction for us to head in."Given Ford will have to wait for another 18 months for a Falcon replacement, Mr Gorman has not ruled out further Falcon models to bolster the range, including the possibility of a Fairmont Ghia Turbo.

"Going forward you might see us do more and more with the turbo because first of all it is such an iconic engine in Australia and it’s so well respected and delivers great satisfaction, so I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility of doing more with the turbo," he said.

"However, there’s nothing immediate. You raised a question that we’ve talked about ourselves." Mr Gorman said given the long lead time until the next-generation Falcon, Ford’s marketing division would have to keep customers happy "today - but keep the excitement going so when the all-new Falcon comes people step right into it."

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