All wheels on deck

With its sales on the slide, Ford’s des­per­ately needed new Ter­ri­tory is fi­nally here

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

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.

Paul Gover

Great Ti­ta­nium hope: The Ter­ri­tory (top) bears the weight of pulling Ford out of a slump and clear­ing stock­piles

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