No easy ride for Ford boss
MARIN Burela is coming home to a tough job. When he slides into the big chair at Broadmeadows the transplanted Aussie will discover just how bad things are at Ford Australia, despite a long-term plan to turn the compact Focus into a new hero and AsiaPacific export contender.
Ford has gone badly backwards in the past 18 months, and not just because it has allowed sales of the Falcon and Territory to slide without building a strategy to remind local buyers of the cars’ many strengths.
It has also failed to build support for the excellent Focus and Fiesta, failed to capitalise on its V8 Supercar successes, and failed to tell Australians about the good work being done by a big engineering team in Melbourne that is exporting brainpower around the world.
And don’t get us started on the cancelled plan to put a diesel into the Falcon.
Burela began his career at Ford Australia and should be a good choice to lead the company. But he is an unknown who arrives after the troubled times under Tom Gorman and the too-short reign of Bill Osborne, who quit early to take what he says is a ‘‘dream job’’ at home in the US.
No one knows what to expect from the new boss, but Burela has a strong track record.
Before becoming president of Ford Australia he was the vehicle line executive director, global small car segment vehicles. That job is based in Germany, so he knows all about the small-car strengths of Ford, including the coming Fiesta and the new Focus that will enter local production in 2011. He has also worked at Jaguar and Land Rover.
Burela began his Ford career as a graduate trainee 25 years ago. Senior jobs in manufacturing, sales and marketing and product development have given him the all-round grounding needed to lead a company as diverse as Ford Australia. He was last here in 1998.
He will face many challenges in his new job, and carsGuide wishes him well.
I’d like to say ‘‘good luck’’, but Ford needs more than luck to drive forward.
It will be interesting to see how Burela goes about making his mark at Broadmeadows.