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Ford says worst-ever Falcon sales were “expected”

Value package: Ford is clearing Falcon stocks with this SR special pack, which offers around $7000 of extra features for $2000 less.

Ford remains positive over Falcon sales, despite worst sales month on record

Ford logo13 Feb 2008

FORD Australia claims its BF Falcon run-out is going to plan despite the nameplate recording its worst-ever monthly sales result since it was introduced in 1960.

As reported last week, the latest round of VFACTS figures show Ford sold just 1252 Falcons in January, with the former best-selling vehicle tumbling out of the top 10.

Showing no signs of panic, outgoing Ford Australia president Tom Gorman last week said the company had expected a poor showing for Falcon in January, just months away from the introduction of the make-or-break Orion Falcon.

“The volume is about where we expected it to be … a couple of hundred (units) lower than what we expected,” he said.

Mr Gorman said the weak January figure was down partly because some fleet deals had gone through one month earlier than planned.

He said the Falcon utility, of which 664 were sold in January, also did not do as well as expected, but added that a new sales program should lift the numbers before the introduction of the new-generation model.

Mr Gorman said sales of the BF Falcon were always going to drop off heading towards the launch of the new Orion Falcon and that Ford Australia was carefully managing stock levels of the soon-to-be superseded vehicle.

“Importantly, our stocks are in great shape,” he said. “When you come to a run-out, you really don’t want to be in a position where you have a lot of the old ones around.”

Mr Gorman said Ford Australia had a “shade” over a month of Falcon production in stock and that all remaining cars had been sold to dealers. Many of these vehicles are being backed with extra equipment to get them moving.

27 center imageLeft: Outgoing Ford Australia president Tom Gorman.

“There will be incentives on these cars that are out there, but it is a lot easier to do that when you have fewer cars,” Mr Gorman said.

With Ford set to reveal the new-look Falcon this Sunday, February 17, Mr Gorman said it would become much harder for dealers to shift the BF series when the new one had been unveiled. That is why it was important that the company and dealers did not have a glut of BF Falcons in stock, he said.

“Whenever you sell a new car it is a little difficult as people are excited about the new one. That’s why you want to keep your stock tight,” he said. “If you have too much of the old stock, the dealers are focused on that and they are not out there talking about the new car.”

Mr Gorman is confident the Falcon will bounce back when the new model goes on sale, but is not expecting the large-car segment to make up the ground it has lost over the past 10 years.

“We still consider there is a real market for a large sedan and when you finally get to see the car, I think you will be really pleased with what you see. Hopefully, when it is out there, we hope it really is going to drive volume for us, but we don’t see the marketplace fundamentally shifting,” he said.

“We don’t see us ever going back to the days when we had 20-plus per cent of the market with large sedans. We really see ourselves in the position where the large-car market is going to be 130,000 to 140,000 a year as an industry and if we get our fair share of that segment, we think we are in a good position for a solid business,” he said.

Mr Gorman admitted that the market conditions had significantly changed since the Orion project was approved by Ford top brass in Detroit, which GoAuto estimates occurred four years ago. But he added that the project would still make money even now the sales figures would be far lower than anticipated back then. “There is no question that it would still be a viable model,” Mr Gorman said.

Read more:

Gorman says Ford is in “very good shape”

VFACTS January: Homegrown heroes decline

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