Ford Australia doesn’t intend to follow its parent company’s move to all but axe its entire passenger-car range in the USA, but admits the future of the mid-sized Mondeo is uncertain.
The Mondeo’s North American twin, the Fusion, is set to be culled among a raft of models including the Fiesta city car, Focus small car, and Taurus large car. It'll leave the Mustang sports car as a lone passenger car in a showroom dominated by trucks and SUVs.
Sales of the Focus, Mondeo and Mustang have all dropped by about a third to the end of November 2018. It means passenger car sales account for 19 per cent of Ford Australia’s sales, compared with 47 per cent just five years ago.
That equates to a decrease from 41,141 to 12,129 units, with one month of sales still to be added to the latter. They are out-selling Ford SUVs, however.
The dual-cab Ranger ute dominates sales locally, just like the Falcon in its heyday, with a 61 per cent share of the showroom (38,779 units), but the portion of Ford SUVs has actually decreased from 21 to 16 per cent – reinforcing the blow of losing the locally-built Territory.
It has just been replaced with the Endura, but the Canadian-built model is a five-seater with no third-row option unlike its locally made predecessor.
Ford Australia marketing director Daniella Winter told CarAdvice at the launch of the new Focus and Endura the company wants to continue offering a diverse range of models.
“We're going to keep re-evaluating the market, but we don't see our product strategy going the same way as the US,” said Winter. “I think our tastes are more akin with what we see in Europe, but not to the extent of small or light cars.
“We're expecting the segment to level out for small cars. We're not expecting to see a big decline... so, we expect to play in that market with a range of vehicles as we are with the new-generation [Focus].
“We're certainly defining what we think Ford needs to have in terms of a product portfolio here in Australia, and I think we're going to have a broad range of vehicles.”
The future of the Mondeo is out of Ford Australia’s hands, however. A midlife facelift is expected for the current model offered since 2014, though an all-new replacement beyond that will depend on whether Ford Europe can make a case for a model with significantly slowing in sales in Europe.
Ford Australia said it's not interested in trying to boost volume beyond private customers for the medium-sized sedan/wagon, and admits it's considering shrinking the Mondeo’s current line-up of a dozen variants.
“Mondeo is an interesting one, just because the segment is so transient and shrinking at a rate of knots…” said Winter.
“I think we need to continue to re-evaluate how many models we have in [a medium-car] market that's shrinking. We're not going to be a big fleet [operator], we’re not going to play [in the] rental [space], that's not important to us.
“I love Mondeo and it's beautiful, but customers [who want a medium-sized vehicle] are choosing to go to SUVs.”
Ford Australia sales breakdown by vehicle type: 2013 v 2018
|2013||2018 (to November 30)|
|Cars||41,141 (47 per cent)||12,129 (19 per cent)|
|Utes||26,431 (30 per cent)||38,779 (61 per cent)|
|SUVs||18,304 (21 per cent)||10,422 (16 per cent)|
|Transit||1360 (2.0 per cent)||2524 (4.0 per cent)|