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Prodrive welds axe over FPV staff

On the outer: Sak Ryopponen had been in his job for just seven months.

Asia-Pacific MD to assume control of Ford's go-fast division

22 Jan 2007

FORD Performance Vehicles has undergone a major restructuring, losing itsmanaging director Sak Ryopponen after just seven months in the job.

According to a Ford statement "FPV is restructuring its business in order to continue developing world-class performance vehicles while significantly increasing its sales and dealer support operations".

Apart from Mr Ryopponen, six other staff have been let go, among them key personnel like Roger Gray who was responsible for sales and marketing, product planner Mark Behr and corporate communications Steve Colquhoun.

Mr Gray had been a Ford veteran for many years, having worked there for 16 years before moving to FPV four years ago.

FPV will continuing as an independent joint-venture between Prodrive and Ford Australia but will now be overseen by Prodrive AT Asia-Pacific managing director, Bryan Mears.

The new structure will enable FPV to continue to utilise both Prodrive’s and Ford Australia’s Melbourne-based resources.

 center imageLeft: Sak Ryopponen.

According to Ford spokesperson, Sinead McAlary, increased resources will now be dedicated to sales, marketing and dealer support.

A new sales and marketing executive was being sought and the sales force will be doubled, she said.

Prodrive is aiming to lift sales and push FPV product to "the next level", she said.

In addition, the new general manager will be responsible for growing FPV’s brand awareness and market share, as well as leading the future product development team.

"FPV has risen to every challenge presented by the changing automotive market in Australia and internationally," Mr Mears said.

"The introduction of innovative new products such as the ground-breaking F6 range of performance cars and utes is just one example of the company's flexibility and engineering excellence.

"FPV achieved record sales results in 2006, thanks in part to the leadership of Sak Ryopponen."FPV sold 2144 vehicles in 2006.

"However, closer alignment with Prodrive will allow FPV to continually push the technology envelope and take full advantage of the engineering expertise available through the company's global operations," Mr Mears said.

"As a result, Sak will be leaving the organisation to take up new opportunities, effective immediately. We thank him for his stewardship of FPV as we have worked through this important restructure of the business." Ford Performance Racing will continue to operate as an independent business.

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