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Internal study undertaken prior to FPV sackings

Future secured: FPV is now looking for opportunities with its line-up.

Ford boss supports the FPV shake-up, but admits surprise at Prodrive’s quick actions

21 Feb 2007

PRODRIVE undertook a study of its FPV business late last year before axing its top executives last month.

Speaking for the first time since Prodrive took the decision to revamp its business with Ford, Ford Australia president Tom Gorman admitted that he knew a study into the business had been undertaken last year.

"If there was any surprise in the conclusion of the study – which we agreed with by the way – was the speed at which the moves were made (that) I think might have caught some of us by surprise," he said.

Prodrive, which has a 51 per cent stake in FPV, led the study, in conjunction with Ford, looking at opportunities for cost sharing between the two and overall sales and marketing strategies.

The sweeping changes at FPV had full Ford support, despite the fact that Prodrive was largely pushing for change. However, Mr Gorman said it was clear the FPV business needed some intervention.

"As FPV, Ford and Prodrive stepped back and looked at its business there are things that we want to do going forward to strengthen that business," he said. "There are things we want to do on the product side and things we want to do on the distribution side with the dealers."This required bold actions to come to grips with the challenges in the structure of the FPV business, he said.

 center imageLeft: GoAutoNews, Feb 7, 2007.

"Really, what that means is that it had a structure in that business that in the long run was probably put in place for a larger business than it really is today," he said.

"That’s not the sales side of it, but has to do more with the manufacturing side of its business."In future both Prodrive and Ford would share many "back-room" activities like financing, accounting and supplier issues.

"As part of that restructuring we decided that we had a management structure that was a little bit top-heavy and the decision was made to make the change and to make the change quickly and then put the restructuring behind us and then focus on bringing new products to market and growing sales," Mr Gorman said.

"It was done very quickly. It was a shock to the marketplace but I think that what was done was ultimately correct."FPV was now in a position to focus on growth "particularly on the product side and sales side".

It now faces a key challenge of not having any new Falcon performance offerings this year until the next-generation car arrives in 2008.

Read more:

Download: GoAutoNews, February 7, 2007

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