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Ranger no danger to Falcon ute

Room for two: Ford says the Ranger and Falcon utes will not compete as they appeal to different types of buyer.

Ford says there is room for two prosperous pick-ups in its product portfolio

18 Oct 2010

FORD has baulked at fears that its 2011 T6 Ranger series will pose a threat to Falcon utility sales.

Ford Australia president Marin Burela assured the media at the unveiling of the new-generation Ranger that the Falcon utility attracts a different type of buyer than the one-tonne truck and will not cannibalise sales.

“They are different customer groups,” said Mr Burela.

“The Falcon customer’s needs are very specific – and they’ve been a very loyal customer to the traditional Australian ute.

27 center imageLeft: Ford Falcon ute. Below: Ford Australia president Marin Burela.

“It was designed to meet two differing spectrums – workhorse and lifestyle – and it has been very successful at it… so we don’t see any significant overlap. There will always be some… but it is a very different vehicle for a very different customer.”

Asked if the new Ranger’s claimed comfort and driving-orientated characteristics will prompt Ford to develop a different type of Falcon utility in the future – perhaps one that is more coupe-like in the style of the Holden VE ute – Mr Burela said it is far too early for such decisions.

However, the Ford boss did admit that his company is open to change in order to keep up with consumer preferences in the one-tonne pick-up market.

“Ultimately, what guides us is the customer. We are so paranoid about where the consumers are going, because that’s where we also need to be. We do not do this for ourselves, we do this because there are a group of people out there who are saying: ‘This is what we need’, and it is the same for all of our product around the world.”

Ford Australia is banking on enough customers to sustain both Falcon and Ranger. The latter has risen in the ranks over the last few years to top the Territory and Focus as the Blue Oval’s number two nameplate after Falcon.

“We haven’t been a dominant player in Asia Pacific over the last 10 years, but we have sold in the region of 800,000 Rangers in the last 10 to 12 years.

“It is the second-highest-selling nameplate after Falcon (in Australia), and yet we know that the opportunities to grow and focus on it are very exciting for us, particularly in the area of workhorse and the other lifestyle vehicles. And this vehicle gives us the bookends for us to play in both.

“We’re now waiting for this thing to hit the market, and we’re very confident.

“Great news for us also is that the design and development of the Ranger allows us flexibility to deliver (the appropriate model according to changes in demand).

“We started on a journey with customers a long, long time ago, and our design team have been absolutely tuned into what these customers want.”

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