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Ford: Korean Holdens don't sell

Beep-beep: Today's Barina is based not on Opel Corsa but Daewoo Kalos.

Ford Oz boss again criticises GM Holden's South Korean model sourcing policy

Ford logo14 Aug 2007

FORD Australia president Tom Gorman has again attacked GM Holden’s move to import Daewoo-sourced models.

Mr Gorman, who describes his most direct rival's move to sell cheaper South Korean-built models as ‘bottom feeding’, points to sales figures as evidence the plan is not working.

“In a year that they have a whole new product (VE Commodore) and a bunch of Daewoos to push, their (passenger market) share is down by almost a full percentage point,” he said.

When asked why he thought Holden’s small-car share had dropped off in the last year, Mr Gorman suggested the switch to South Korean models was not delivering sales results.

“I don’t really know what is going on at Holden,” Mr Gorman said.

“They have a lot of new product, I will have to say that Commodore has done a good job for them, but their market share is still down significantly and a lot of that is off the back of their small-car portfolio not doing as well as you would have thought and frankly some of their other products.”

Holden now sells a Daewoo-sourced light car (Barina), small car (Viva), mid-sized sedan (Epica) and mid-sized SUV (Captiva).

The new South Korean Barina replaced the European-sourced Barina, the Viva sells alongside the European-built Astra and the Epica has replaced the European-built Vectra, while the Captiva is a new entrant.

The Epica is selling more strongly than the Vectra it replaced in May, while the Captiva SUV is also adding significant sales volume.

Sales for the Daewoo-sourced Barina light car sit at 7371 to the end of July, which is down on last year, but still 1902 better than the sales for the previous model during the same period in 2005.

When it comes to small cars, Holden has sold 4825 Vivas to the end of July this year and 11,532 Astras in the same period, giving the brand a total small car figure of 16,357. This combined tally still falls short of the Astra total of the same period in 2005, before the Viva was introduced - which stood at 20,123.

Mr Gorman admitted that Ford Australia was not happy his own company’s performance so far this year, with sales down by around 6500 over the same period last year in a booming market.

“We knew coming in that this was going to be the most challenging year on many fronts, particularly (for) Falcon, and that has proved to be the case,” he said.

Mr Gorman said the decline could be explained by the expected drop off in Falcon sales and supply problems for the Focus, as well as the run-out of the old model last month.

He said Ford could claw back the losses to draw even with last year’s sales tally.

“We think we can reverse that in the coming months. How? First of all we will do much better on Focus and Ranger (ute),” he said.

“Once we fill the pipeline again we can do a much better job on Focus. We are also trying to get more Ranger,” he said.

Mr Gorman said he expected Focus to achieve at least 2000 sales every month, well up on July’s lean total of 1082, while the arrival of the Mondeo this October is expected to give the tally another boost.

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