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Ford Australia has shipped 100 top-spec Ford Territory Titanium SUVs to Thailand in an export deal the local manufacturer has described as “small but important”.

The low-volume export program follows strong public interest in the seven-seat diesel-powered Territory that was showcased at the 2012 Bangkok motor show in March as a toe-in-the-water exercise by Ford Australia.

Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano says he expects the Territory to do well in Thailand, building on the large SUV’s success in Australia and New Zealand.

“This is an exciting day for everyone here at Ford Australia,” Graziano said. “This is a small but important deal and will provide an important base on which to potentially build further exports.”

“It’s clear Thai customers want the roominess of a seven-seater and the features available in the Territory Titanium,” Graziano said.

Some small specification tweaks have been made to the Thailand-bound vehicles, with the radio modified to tune in 50kHz increments rather than the 100kHz increments used in Australia, and the rear-seat entertainment system updated to read Thailand-spec DVDs.

All 100 Thai Territorys are equipped with the brand’s 140kW/440Nm 2.7-litre V6 TDCi diesel engine, which was added to the local line-up in 2011 and has led to a sales resurgence for the locally manufactured SUV.

Sales are up 35 per cent in Australia so far this year compared with the same period in 2011, with the Territory leading the Falcon sedan year-to-date for the first time in history (8779 versus 7787).

The new Thai export program is the second time Ford Australia has sold a small number of Territorys to the Southeast Asian nation. Approximately 20 first-generation models were sent over in 2005 following the signing of the free-trade agreement between the two countries, although high excises and changes to the details of the agreement by the Thai government meant the program collapsed almost immediately after it started.




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