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Ford v Holden: Gloves are off!

Tit for tat: Ford's latest sales campaign (above) follows Holden's offer of employee discounts to the public (below).

Ford hits back at Holden’s sales campaign with the old ‘one, two, three...’

Ford logo24 Nov 2005

FORD Australia has answered Holden’s new-car "employee" discount program with its own aggressive sales campaign.

Its "one, two, three" incentive, equating to a claimed $1000 discount on Fiesta, $2000 on Falcon and $3000 on Territory, is being offered on limited run-out stock.

Falcon ute buyers can save a claimed $2000 while the slow-selling Fairlane and LTD also benefit from $3000 discounts.

Ford Australia president Tom Gorman said that, like most manufacturers, Ford had reacted to Holden’s quest to boost its sales in the run towards Christmas.

Holden’s program relates to vehicles built with compliance plates before July 1. Holden dealers are offering discounts of between $3000 and $10,000 on various models.

"We have not followed them on the employee purchase program for a lot of reasons, one of which is that we feel we have a clearer message," Mr Gorman said.

 center imageRather than offer employee pricing, which has been criticised for damaging Holden’s brand values, Ford has leveraged its successful A, B, C marketing push, which harks back to when the Fiesta, Falcon and Territory took out last year’s RACV/NRMA Best Cars awards.

"We have focused on our Australian Best Cars with Fiesta, Falcon and Territory and have a very direct marketing campaign with direct factory cash back," Mr Gorman said.

"Our strategy was simple ... to give the consumer something that was simple and cut-through – and it’s a runout strategy.

"We did have plans to run out the BA and SF volume and this dovetails with that very well."Ford has a small number of Fiestas in stock, about 7500 mostly BA Falcons and about 4500 Territorys.

Mr Gorman said the company had managed to keep its stock levels relatively constant for the year. Generally it was not Ford policy to build units and not wholesale them, he said.

Ford’s incentive program is designed to move superseded models and reduce any issues that arise from having abnormally high stock levels, particularly with the BF Falcon and SY Territorys coming on stream.

Ford plans to sell aggressively for the remainder of the month and next month, driven in part because of similar end-of-year deals offered by its rivals.

"There’s great value for money out there for a consumer to buy a new car today," he said.

However, he does not believe Australia is heading down the path of the United States, where aggressive pricing incentives are the norm throughout the year.

Mr Gorman is also confident there will be a swing back to large cars, which have suffered severely as petrol prices skyrocketed this year.

"Consumers are sensitive to fuel but the large car buyer is more aware of prices than they have been – they are less sensitive to petrol prices than a small-car buyer," he said.

"A guy who buys a V8 will still buy a V8 and they’ll make up their budget shortfall somewhere else."Despite the slump in Falcon sales this year, down around 20 per cent, dedicated LPG Falcon sales have increased.

"Ford’s dedicated LPG volume is up substantially," he said. "In the first quarter of the year compared to the third quarter we were up almost 40 per cent in terms of monthly volume.

"Now, it’s off a relatively low base. Instead of 520 it’s 750 a month, so the numbers are not enormous but clearly people are considering alternative fuels."There has also been a bigger uptake from private buyers, he said.

Ford’s overall sales forecast for the year is pegged at between 992,000 and 995,000, not the one million units forecast by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

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