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Ford’s Thai Territory exports labelled ‘pointless’

High roller: A heavy tariff burden prices the Thai version of the Ford Territory against luxury European rivals

Export program for the Aussie-made Ford Territory comes at too high a cost

7 Oct 2013

THAILAND’S main English-language newspaper has dismissed the Australian-built Ford Territory as “pointless” after import tariffs pushed the car into luxury vehicle pricing.

Ford sent a batch of 100 Broadmeadows-built Territory soft-roaders to the kingdom midway through last year as part of a tentative push into a new export market for the car.

However, by the time local taxes that discourage the import of large-capacity engines and skew the market to locally built cars, the Territory sells in Thailand for about $AUD100,000, compared with less than $70,000 for the range-topping, feature-rich Titanium sold here with a turbo-diesel V6 powerplant.

Writing for the Bangkok Post today, motoring news editor Richard Leu said fitting the Territory with the 2.7-litre turbo-diesel V6 instead of the 4.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine shaved about $17,000 off the price tag, as the oil-burner attracted only a 40 per cent excise – the petrol version would have attracted a 50 per cent excise. Thai-built utes such as the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT50 and Holden Colorado attract only a 20 per cent excise.

While the review praises the Territory’s interior space, and its price compared with luxury rivals that cost more including a Thai-built version of BMW’s X3, the review concludes that it is still overpriced for what it is.

“So why is Ford still trying to flog the Territory in Thai showrooms?” Mr Leu asks.

“Well, Ford Thailand is continuing to import this vehicle from Australia partly as an exercise in the use of existing free trade agreements and partly because it gives the firm the opportunity to add some flavour to its rather bland product line-up in the kingdom, where the bread-winners will always be the made-in-Thailand models.”

The Territory was also criticised for its hard-wearing interior. “Bluntly put, the Territory’s interior doesn’t feel that premium, even if initial impressions might suggest otherwise,” the review said.

“Even the (Thai-built) Ranger Wildtrak pickup seems to possess a higher sense of perceptive quality.”

Mr Leu concludes that the Ford Territory can’t match the crisper driving dynamics of the European cars it was priced against, was not as fuel-efficient, and did not deliver the same high quality found in premium SUVs.

“Let's not forget that this is a price range from which many Thais expect a lot, even if the Territory is priced reasonably well as a seven-seater and feels capable in its own right,” he said.

“Ultimately, the Territory remains as pointless as ever – both in terms of Ford's Thai model line-up and the firm's intended interaction with its prospective rivals, against which it should certainly be measured if it really wanted to offer something special to buyers from an emotional point of view.

“Which it doesn't.”

Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Sinead Phipps said the car-maker had no firm plans to send another batch of Ford Territory SUVs to Thailand.

“At this stage the Thailand team is evaluating the market to determine if, when (and) how many they would like,” she said.

“We don’t have anything to announce at this stage.”

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