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Medium rare growth for mid-sizers

Fresh start: Ford hopes to double Mondeo sales with its revised range.

Clear! Ford seeks to revive flat-lining medium car fortunes with Mondeo

General News logo11 Aug 2009

FORD Australia president Marin Burela says the company’s newly refreshed Mondeo range – now including a wagon to rival the Holden Sportwagon – will dramatically increase Mondeo sales after it goes on sale from Friday.

He wants no less than a doubling of its share of the mid-size segment.

That could be a big ask, given that plenty of models are fighting over a pie that has not been getting any bigger in recent times.

It has remained either remarkably consistent or stagnant since 2000, depending on how you look at it, despite the introduction of new and exciting models.

Back in 2000, the mid-size segment’s share of the market stood at 6.4 per cent.

It kicked up from 2003 to 2006 pushed along by the introduction of striking new products such as the Mazda6, Honda Accord and Accord Euro hitting a high of 7.4 per cent in the latter year.

The last full year of sales saw the mid-size segment sitting at 6.7 per cent, before losing more share this year. As of this June, the year-to-date share figure stood at 6 per cent.

The mid-size segment share has stayed remarkably steady when compared with the small (under $40,000), light ($25,000) and large (under $75,000) segments.

 center imageFrom top: Toyota Camry Sportivo, Honda Accord, Mazda6.

From 2000 to the end of 2008, the large segment has gone from 25.6 per cent share to 11.3 per cent, the light segment ran from 11.3 per cent down to 7.6 per cent and back up to 11.3 per cent while the small segment has grown from 19.7 per cent to 21.8 per cent with some ups and downs along the way.

Toyota Camry is by far the biggest seller in the class, driven by a large percentage of fleet buyers.

Last year Toyota sold 26,336 Camrys, well ahead of the Mazda6 on 12,397. Honda sold 8274 Accord Euros and 5283 four-cylinder Accords.

In early 2007, Holden introduced the Epica – a revised version of the Daewoo Magnus which Holden expected would give the Camry a serious touch up.

Despite its cheap starting price and a diesel variant, it has so far failed and sold just 3108 last year.

The reasons for this are varied, but Holden insiders suggest the fact the Epica is a six-cylinder is a major hindrance, as many fleets have a four-cylinder-only policy.

As for Mondeo, Ford sold 4872 last year after reintroducing the car in 2007, pipping Subaru’s Liberty by 555 cars.

Ford Australia had dabbled with the Mondeo from 1995 to 2000, but gave it the flick due to slow sales and relatively high cost. Sales hit a high of 4299 in 1996 but soon trailed off.

It re-launched with a hatch and a sedan, a petrol, turbo petrol and diesel, and ditched the sedan for a wagon, but also introduced a new premium Titanium model aimed at private customers.

Ford sees the Mondeo wagon as a true opponent for the Holden Sportswagon which is proving the difference between Falcon and Commodore sales.

While Ford still sells a Falcon wagon, it is a BF III with leaf-spring suspension that is almost exclusively bought by fleets.

The Mondeo wagon, which is aimed directly at private customers, will need to fire if Ford is to meet Mr Burela’s bold prediction of doubling Mondeo sales.

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