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Carrying a load: Ford's Falcon Ute is outpacing the Holden Ute, despite minimal advertising.

Ford says the Falcon won’t match Holden’s sub-$30K driveaway Commodore pricing

20 Apr 2009

FORD Australia president Marin Burela has declared that Ford will not mimic the Commodore's $29,990 driveaway pricing by rival GM Holden several months ago.

He also said recent fuel economy and emissions gains would endear the Ford Falcon to more private and fleet buyers as they realised how competitive some Falcon variants were against four-cylinder rivals such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord VTi.

“Our competitors have been out there competing with pricetags like $29,990 driveaway,” he said.

“We looked at that, and we said: ‘You know what, we’re not going there!’ We are just not going there.

“Because we know that type of behaviour only comes back to bite you through residuals, and it creates all sorts of issues and problems as you start to move forward. You know, you really start having the ‘morning after’ effect some time further down the track.

“And we’ve continued to promote value, quality, safety, fuel economy, and technology, and it’s worked for us. And it is working for us.

“At the bottom end of the market, I think that people have been bargain-hunting at the $29,990 level, and I think people may not have been in the market buying a large car, but have always wanted a large car, and so went out and bought a large car.

“But what we’re also seeing is that in that mid series, there has been an enormous amount of activity there.”

27 center imageMr Burela said more people were now shopping for Ford, with vehicles such as the Ford Falcon Ute growing in volume.

“The Falcon Ute is another ... leading the Commodore Ute year-to-date,” he said.

“Yet, once again, we do very, very little active advertising on the Ute, yet people just keep coming in and buying it.

“(So) how do we get the Australian consumer to go back and buy Australian sourced, Australian produced cars, particularly if they meet their needs in terms of fuel economy, cost of ownership, safety, quality and so on? “I am particularly proud that we are the first Australian company to meet five-star safety in Australia in terms of locally produced cars. Also (that Falcon with the ZF six-speed automatic gearbox manages), 9.9 litres per 100km – that’s the equivalent to four-cylinder competitive vehicles here in Australia. There are some mainstream high-volume four-cylinder vehicles that are achieving that level of fuel economy.

“How do we do that? I think words are one thing, but I think our behaviour and our actions and the way we communicate and connect with society is the other that is really, really important.

“We have been locked out of certain business markets in Australia because we didn’t have a vehicle that was meeting a sub-240 gram per kilometre CO2 levels. But I’ll now be knocking on the doors of those government authorities those who did not fully consider us.

“Now we’ll come out very boldly and say that now we’ve done what you have asked us to do, we have the best quality car in Australia, tremendous fuel economy, tremendous CO2 ... so what now? “As the exchange rate continues to do strange things, and as commodity prices continue to go up and down, I think we are going to see more pressure on imports than we’ve seen historically for a long time.

“What an advantage that provides for the FoMoCo. We have a tremendous car in the FG Falcon, and it is playing well. Interestingly over the last few months, our private share in the private share has been growing month over month over month.

“So what we now need to do is really go out there and push hard with the fleets and the governments.

Asked how Ford would alter preconceptions about large family cars and SUVs, Mr Burela said further consumer education by the manufacturers was needed.

“You can actually have a large car and still be socially responsible,” he believes.

“Our communications strategy will change.

“And it is going to be very specific, very targeted on key areas that we believe we are strategically and tactically ahead of our competition.”

Read more:

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