Ford puts its best foot forward

Riley Riley

The figures don’t lie.

Sales of sedans are in decline and have been for years.

At the same time buyers continue flocking to utes and SUVs.

Why then would car makers continue pumping their resources into building and promoting sedans, or flogging a dead horse as the saying goes?

Earlier this year Ford revealed plans to end sales of all sedans in North America as it makes the transition to a crossover and SUV inventory.

It makes sense in a perverse sort of way.

Ford has stopped marketing the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Taurus sedans (Americans have never taken to hatches) and is cutting back on spending in other markets.

It has already stopped production of the North American version of the Focus and plans to wind up Fiesta and Taurus by the middle of next year.

The Fusion will be around for a bit longer.

Vice president of marketing, sales and service, Mark LaNeve, said the Ford plans to spend the money instead on popular models such as Mustang and the small EcoSport SUV, plus other soon to be released SUVs.

“We clearly have the right strategy,” LaNeve told reporters.

In Australia the company continues to struggle, with sales down almost 11 per cent at the halfway point for the year.

The company itself has slumped to number five in the sales charts, behind Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai and Mitsubishi — but still ahead of Holden.

In July it appointed 40-year-old Kay Hart as the new CEO of Ford Australia, who replaced Aussie Graeme Whickman who has resigned top pursue other opportunities.

Hart started her career in the marketing team at Ford New Zealand in 1998.

“I’m looking forward to working with our dealers and team to continue the great progress that has been made in the consumer experience and helping accelerate growth across the business,” she said.

Figures just released show the Toyota Hilux was Australia’s best-selling vehicle during August with total sales of 4275, followed by the Ford Ranger with 3515, the Toyota Corolla (3033), the Mazda3 (2969), and the Mazda CX-5 (2599).

Toyota again led with a 19.8 per cent share of the August market, followed by Mazda (11.3%), Hyundai (8.4%), Mitsubishi (7.4%) and Ford (6.3%).

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