All wheels on deck
With its sales on the slide, Ford’s desperately needed new Territory is finally here
THE most important new Ford since the BA Falcon is heading to owners this week.
The updated and much improved Territory has been delayed by a computer glitch involving the dashboard display unit but Ford says the problem has now been solved.
It has been stockpiling cars around the country while working on the problem and, with a remedy now in place, intends to pump the new Territory through dealerships.
The result will be about 700 deliveries in quick time, followed by a concerted campaign for Australia’s only locally made SUV. Ford Australia is downplaying the delay, even though Carsguide has been peppered with complaints from potential buyers following the press preview of the car in April.
We had always said we would have it into showrooms in May and it’s slipped slightly into the first week of June,’’ Ford spokeswoman Sinead McAlary says.
It was always important to us, because of the amount of interest and the build-up to the car, that we delivered the right result for customers. We want to maintain the positive momentum with Territory. We believe it was absolutely the right thing to do to get the car right before we sent it out.’’
Success for the Territory could help to offset the dismal showroom effort by the Falcon in the first five months of 2011, which has some observers recalling the dark days— including massive stockpiles— of the AU Falcon at the end of the 1990s.
On the Territory front, Ford has more than 700 customer orders and, with more than 200 dealers to supply, is pushing to get the SUV up to speed at its Broadmeadows factory.
There are 209 dealers and we’ve promised each one they will have at least one car (by the end of this week),’’ says McAlary. Ford has also begun an intensive showroom push with the Falcon.
We have a new advertising program we’ve just launched with some incentives to small business. Dealers are starting to report increased traffic for Falcon, which is good,’’ McAlary says. She is confident there will be a rub-off from the updated Territory.
Positive momentum for Territory is a positive moment for the brand, and that can only be good for Falcon.’’
Ford is still assessing the impact of the new diesel model in the Territory range and the potential growth of all-wheel drive sales with buyers who want a diesel SUV for towing.
The early launch mix is heavily skewed to diesel, 70:30. There is pent-up demand for the diesel but we believe it will settle at about 60:40. We’re also expecting more demand for the all-wheel drive system,’’ McAlary says.
Great Titanium hope: The Territory (top) bears the weight of pulling Ford out of a slump and clearing stockpiles