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Ford will rebound, says Carr
Federal minister predicts Ford Australia’s new models will reverse sales slump
4 May 2011
FORD Australia will rebound from its current sales slow-down that has forced a three-day working week at its Victorian factories, federal industry minister Senator Kim Carr said in Melbourne today.
Senator Carr said the arrival of the four-cylinder EcoBoost engine and liquid-injection LPG engine in Falcon and the new diesel Territory should result in a significant lift in Ford sales.
He also said he saw a future for Ford’s Geelong engine plant “through to at least 2016”.
The reference to 2016 appears to apply to the change-over date for Falcon from the current platform to whatever comes next – widely rumoured to be an Australianised Ford Taurus with a choice of front- or all-wheel-drive.
Senator Carr was commenting after VFACTS figures released today showed Ford last month posted one of its worst monthly sales results, selling just 1457 Falcons and 599 Territorys in a total 6465 vehicles – down 21.1 per cent on the same month last year.
He said Ford had been hurt by the absence of its Falcon LPG variant for several months ahead of the arrival of its new liquid-injection variant.
From top: Senator Kim Carr, Ford Falcon, Ford Territory.
“Twenty per cent of their sales would have been around LPG, and there have been some issues with regard to the LPG – decisions by the company – and that has had an affect on their sales as well,” he said.
“These are issues that the company is working through and we are working closely with the company. We are confident of the long-term viability of Ford in Australia.”
Senator Carr said he and his department had been well aware of Ford sales figures “for some time”.
“I expect though that those sales figures will improve,” he said.
Senator Carr said the high Australian dollar was impacting manufacturing, including the car-makers.
“We obviously need to work through that, and we are obviously working with the companies on those issues,” he said.
Senator Carr said he expected Ford’s Geelong to be supplying engines “for the foreseeable future”.
“If it wasn’t for the actions of this government Geelong (Ford) would have closed three years ago,” he said.
“So my expectation is that we will be supplying engines out of Geelong for the current line-up of vehicles as an option for consumers through to at least 2016.”
Senator Carr lambasted comments by former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett in a Melbourne newspaper column that Australia could not support three car-makers and that one would close.
“Jeff Kennett has always been a bloke who has shot from the lip without thinking,” he said. “He has always a tradition of shooting before thinking.”
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