The headline number for Ford is growth of 17 percent, at least quadruple that of its key competitors.
It’s the first time in some 12 years that Ford sales have grown. That growth has come from the Ford Ranger ute, which accounts for 45 percent of Ford sales. With the exception of Mustang, every Ford passenger car – Focus, Falcon, Fiesta – is down, as are Territory and EcoSport. Thankfully, the relatively fresh Ford Everest is doing modest numbers and putting a positive spin on its SUV family. Mustang was close to being Ford’s top-selling passenger car in 2016, which is an indication of how poorly others performed.
2016 SALES: 83K
2016 YTD results: 74,741 sales, up 16.5%, 6.9% market share
2017 FORECAST: 79K
RANKING: 5th 79,000 sales (down 5%), 6.6% market share
As we’ve said before, Ford’s opportunities lie with anything that isn’t a Ranger. It has an almost unhealthy reliance on the ute, which will come under increasing pressure as competition ramps up over the next few years. And while Ford’s focus has been on natural demand rather than discount deals, the hard truth is that sales of Focus are dismal and EcoSport has bombed in what is a booming small-SUV segment. So Ford has to work out a way to make those fire. An updated EcoSport and the revival of the Escape name (why was it ever shelved?) should help with SUVs, as will an expanded Everest family.
The end of local manufacturing will gouge a massive chunk out of Ford sales; up until the October shutdown of the Broadmeadows plant, Australian-made cars accounted for 19 percent – almost one in five – of Ford sales. Without a direct replacement for Territory (an expanded Everest family will partially fill the void) or Falcon (buyers could look at Mondeo), there is more downside than up for Ford in 2017. The challenge will be eking more out of existing models.
A much-needed resurgence for Ford in 2016, but off the back of only two models. Storm clouds are gathering again for a company that struggles to sell anything but Rangers and Mustangs, so expect some of those gains to be wiped out in 2017.