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Ford boss: 2010 looking up

Optimistic: Ford Australia president Marin Burela believes 2010 is the year for recovery.

Burela believes market conditions should improve next year

Ford logo20 Apr 2009

FORD is confident that new-vehicle sales will improve next year in Australia, as consumer and business confidence firms up.

However, despite the federal government’s recent financial stimulus packages, the company fears that the market will contract further over the next few months, as buyers reel from the aftermath of the global financial crisis and growing unemployment.

“We feel that the second quarter will be a very interesting and unsettling three months, because of all of the things that are going on globally,” Ford Australia president Marin Burela said.

“We believe that the last six months – particularly the fourth quarter – I think we will see some strength in the industry, and I think that that will be driven by some settling down of interest rates and exchange (rates), and the settling down of oil prices.

“I think 2010 is going to be a stronger year, a year that people will start seeing some optimism again.

“US president Barack Obama has been talking for the first time with a bit of confidence, saying that we are seeing a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel we are seeing the housing industry going up, we’re seeing sales on cars going up.

 center imageLeft: Ford Falcon G6.

“It is a game of four quarters. It is like a football match – things are starting to firm.

“It does not matter which side of (governmental) policy fence you are sitting on.

“My sense of it is that in the Australian political system, all parties are absolutely all focused on doing the right thing for Australia.

“They may have different views on how to get there, but they all have a view of needing to deliver success, they need to protect Australian jobs, they need to create an environment for more investment, they need to go out there and ensure that our people are up-skilled, they need to provide enablers for young people to be educated so we can go out there and have a nation of skilled and capable people of the future.”

Mr Burela also believes the Falcon’s market share will improve over the next year or so, as fleet and private buyers respond to the improvements Ford has wrought upon the range this year.

“(When we launched the Falcon one year ago) we were caught … in the perfect storm,” he said.

“We came out with a brand-new vehicle in mid-2008, at a time when the world economy was falling apart.

“And all of a sudden the industry started to go south, and we saw that in the last six months of last year, when the industry dropped down as low as 829,000/830,000 – the lowest it has been in a long, long time. And there we were competing with a brand-new vehicle.

“(But), the good news is, (Falcon’s) private share is going up, we now have the ability to compete with fleets and governments that we didn’t have in the past, and we have a great car.

“Look, it’s a tough industry – and a really tough year in Australia, there is no question about that.

“But, at the same time, I keep reminding everyone that 850,000 people are buying new cars.

“It was not so long ago that the industry was celebrating and drinking champagne when we got to 850,000.”

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