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The Voice puts Ford in Focus

Sharp focus: Ford has experienced a sales increase for its Focus small car after heavy promotion during the first season of ratings juggernaut, The Voice.

TV promotion puts the Ford Focus on track to return to 2006 sales level

12 Oct 2012

FORD Australia claims that sales for its Focus small car increased so quickly as a result of its sponsorship of reality TV show The Voice that for two months afterwards it could not keep up with demand.

The company is naturally keen to repeat the exercise when The Voice returns to our screens early next year, but Ford Australia general marketing manager David Katic told GoAuto that negotiations were still taking place with the Channel Nine.

Mr Katic said Focus sales had jumped by one-third this year despite constrained supply out of Europe, but described that growth rate as unsustainable in the long term, even with production now being sourced from Thailand.

The MkII Focus out of Thailand comes with extra features and price cuts of up to $2410, which should keep Focus sales momentum going to the end of the year.

Mr Katic said searches for people looking at Focus online went up 500 per cent on Google while The Voice was on and that web traffic to the Focus area of ford.com.au was up 46 per cent, “which was just an astonishing increase”.

“We’ve had a really structured plan over the last 12 months to build the Focus brand and the nameplate because we have a tremendous confidence in the Focus brand and what it can do for us in terms of sales,” he said at this week’s launch of the Focus ST performance model.

128 center imageFrom top: Ford Focus ST Focus sedan and hatch.

“The Voice was the highest-rating TV show in Australia this year – it absolutely smashed every ratings record for any reality show over the last few years.

“We were one of the key sponsors and it really worked an absolute treat in terms of awareness of the Focus brand.

“Through the period that The Voice was on – basically the second quarter this year – we well exceeded our sales targets, so much so that we actually started to run out of stock in July and August on Focus.”

He said Ford had more Focus stock in September and consequently sold 1687 units – more than twice as many as it managed in the same month last year.

Official sales data from VFACTS shows Focus up 39.7 per cent to the end of September compared with the first nine months of 2011, making Focus the Blue Oval’s outstanding achiever in Australia this year.

With 13,011 sales on the board, it has already beaten its full-year tally from last year (which itself was up 30.6 per cent up on the previous year) and finally put the highly acclaimed small car on track to return Focus to the levels it achieved in 2006 and 2007.

The 2006 record of 17,483 Focus sales might still be within reach, and that is a significant turnaround from the low of 2010 when 9848 sales saw the Focus beaten by its humble Fiesta sibling.

“We’ve been working really hard on building the Focus brand,” said Mr Katic.

“We’ve been centering all of our communications around technology on Focus – Sync, active park assist, adaptive cruise, ‘active city stop’. The Focus platform has got a lot of really cool technologies on it and we think we’ve got a really good story there.

“We took the new Focus out of Europe (from August 2011) knowing we would be constrained on supply, but we wanted to get on and launch it so that when we get the cars from Thailand – and they are just coming through the system at the moment – we’ll have a great opportunity to increase our volumes.”

Mr Katic said he was also pleased to report “a really strong mix of high series”, with the range-topping Titanium models – especially the hatchbacks – selling strongly despite constrained supply.

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