‘‘We’re making the decisions and we are continuing to support the industry. We’re continuing to keep our engineering competencies up, not just with Falcon but with a global pick-up truck engineering program, so we’re retaining that confidence and capability as we work our way through this period.’’
What about Focus exports?
‘‘It’s a global product. We’re linking it with Asia. We want to work on a stronger export program.’’
Why have European imports not done well for Ford Australia?
‘‘Well, we’ve had a lot of conversations about this at Ford and I think the most important answer to that question is consistency of purpose. We have a product here, we stop that, we bring another one in.
‘‘The world-class companies have an unrelenting consistency of purpose on their product lines. I think the most important thing is the brand itself and what does it stand for. We’re going to focus on that family of vehicles and every year forever, the consumer’s going to know what those Ford vehicles stand for.’’
What about the rest of the Ford business in Australia?
‘‘We’re retaining our engineering compet- ence by doing the global compact pick-ups, so we brought that project into Australia so we can still maintain the engineering workforce since we’ve completed Falcon now. And that’s a global product, it’s going to every market in the world with the exception of the US.’’
How do you see Australian car-making?
‘‘Only 15 countries in the world have the intellectual and manufacturing capability to create, design, manufacture, export and support motor vehicles, and when you think about that, it’s pretty neat — and Australia is one of those countries.’’
What support did you want from the Federal Government?
‘‘This is a time when maybe a pause in the tariff reduction would be appropriate.’’
Is it critical for Ford Australia?
‘‘Well, the thing about the pause is the near term because, clearly, going through this cycle in the economy as well as bringing in smaller vehicles, it’s just an important time right now to take this pause. Longer term, we can continue to improve the competitiveness of ourselves and of the industry, and right now I think it’s a critical piece.’’
How do you see the global market?
‘‘When you look worldwide, we think about 60 per cent of vehicles sold are going to be small, about 25 per cent will be medium — cars, utilities and trucks — and about 15 per cent will be large. So you want to have the right products in those segments.’’
Will there still be a place for V8 engines?
‘‘The market will decide. And, again, this is back to the structural change. I really think the world has changed with the oil prices.’’
Will Ford sell Volvo and Ford, as it sold Jaguar and Aston Martin?
‘‘Well, the focus on Volvo is improving its business performance on the brand side and the cost side, and that’s the near-term focus for Volvo. We have a great relationship with Mazda.’’
What is your bottom line?
‘‘You guys have to be bullish on your industry. Australia is a tremendous opportunity for us.’’
We can do it: Ford global chief Alan Mulally says Australia is one of a few countries that can make cars.
Picture: FIONA HAMILTON