Ford Australia’s sales volumes are showing some welcome signs of recovery in 2016, with growth of 17.2 per cent across the first two months of the year.
Vitally, the turnaround is happening thanks not just to incremental volume gains from brand new model lines, the Everest SUV and sold-out-for-2016 Mustang sports car, but good growth from various existing brand staples such as the Mondeo, Kuga and Ranger.
Ford Australia delivered 12,160 vehicles in January-February, up from 10,379 over the same period in 2015. This upward growth puts Ford on track to arrest an 11-year annual sales decline in Australia.
This puts Ford fifth on the charts behind Toyota (28,644), Mazda (20,221), Hyundai (14,703) and traditional rival Holden (14,164), narrowly ahead of Mitsubishi (11,688) and Nissan (11,552).
Naturally, two months do not maketh a trend, but for Ford fans who have been watching the company’s sales fall for years on end, it may come as welcome news. Not to mention its dealers.
Ford Australia’s sales have been in steady decline since 2004. That year, Ford Australia hit 135,172 sales, yielding 14.2 per cent market share and finishing third overall.
It’s been down each and every year since, largely on the back of the decline in Falcon sales and, in fairness, a more recent decision to greatly limit fleet sales in favour of higher-margin opportunities. Brand deliveries totalled 70,454 units in 2015, equalling market share of just 6.1 per cent. Ford’s share in 2016 so far is 6.7 per cent.
As mentioned atop the story, core models such as the Ford Kuga (788 units, up 51 per cent), Mondeo (586, up 427.9 per cent thanks to greater supply), Ranger 4x2 (920, up up 33.9 per cent) and Ranger 4x4 (4153, up 36.2 per cent) are dong well in 2016, though Ford Australia might well remain concerned at becoming the ‘Ranger Motor Company’.
Dragging the chain is the recently updated Ford Focus, on 964 units (down 47.3 per cent) and behind the Audi A3 — a telling stat. Much of this is surely down to the removal of the Ambiente base variant leading the price structure, though Ford might counter that its profits are trending up.
The Fiesta is also way down (545 units, down 44.8 per cent), as are the Australian-made models, the Falcon (656, down 25.6 per cent), Falcon Ute (288, down 26.2 per cent) and Territory (1080, down 24.1 per cent).
Production of all three ends when Ford Australia closes its Victorian manufacturing division in October this year.
Ford Australia will aim to keep the buzz going in 2016 via the launch of key new models, or at least ones that nod to its history, such as the final edition Falcon Sprint (next week), Focus RS (mid-2016) and upgraded Kuga (end of 2016). More on all that here.