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Ford’s tough sell starts in Thailand

On a boat: Ford Australia has sent 100 Territory SUVs to Thailand, with an eye to exporting more in the future.

Aussie Ford Territory hits Bangkok showrooms with eyebrow-raising $100,000 price

8 Nov 2012

FORD Australia is taking a wait-and-see approach to sending more shipments of its Ford Territory to Thailand after the vehicle officially went on sale in the kingdom this week.

A fleet of 100 range-topping Territory Titanium wagons left Australia for Thailand in early August after a positive reception to a single vehicle on display at Ford’s stand the Bangkok motor show March.

Ford Thailand was able to sell eight of the Australian-built cars – each featuring a 2.7-litre turbo diesel V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive, leather trim and a DVD player – off the show stand even before the first batch of cars left Australian shores, but at the equivalent of $100,000 each for a car that retails here for just under $70,000, selling the other 92 vehicles could be a challenge.

Ford Australia spokesman Martin Gunsberg told GoAuto that the car-maker was happy to have the Territory officially on sale in the region, and said it would “look forward to seeing how the first batch go” before talking with its Thai counterparts about sending more shipments.

However, a challenge the Territory faces is that the car attracts what Gunsberg says are “non-tariff duties”, which add about $30,000 to the Thai price tag compared with the Australian market.

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“This is why we chose to go with the high series only for the Thai market,” he says.

Ford of Thailand did not respond to emails asking how the Territory was faring on its first week of official sales.

The Territory takes a unique place in Ford’s Thai showroom, selling side-by-side with the Thai-built and Ranger-based Everest soft-roader, and the US-built Escape compact soft-roader, both of which cost in the low $30,000s.

By comparison, buyers could cross-shop the Territory Titanium against a BMW X3 without having to dig too much deeper.

It’s not the first time Ford has attempted to sell the Territory outside its traditional Australian and New Zealand-based markets.

Small batches of its first-generation Territory were sent to the kingdom in 2006 after a similarly warm reception to the large soft-roader at the 2005 Bangkok motor show.

Sales to Thailand and South Africa helped push the SY Territory to the top of its sales segment.

However, while the export of Australian-built cars is welcome news for Ford, Thailand continues to grow as a source for cars sold here.

The latest VFACTS new-car sales data shows more than 135,000 Thai-built cars have found their way into Australian driveways so far this year, compared with more than 325,600 cars arriving from the traditional leader in terms of imports, Japan.

At slightly more than 122,100 sales, Korea is our third-largest country of origin for imported cars.

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