En­ter­ing new ter­ri­tory

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By CRAIG DUFF

THE Aus­tralian-built Ford Ter­ri­tory could be sold in Thai­land in rare pos­i­tive news for lo­cal car­mak­ers.

Ford spokesman Neil Mcdon­ald con­firmed the com­pany had shown its SUV at the Bangkok Mo­tor Show, which ended this week, to test the re­ac­tion of Asian con­sumers.

Ford isn’t ex­pect­ing big vol­umes, with pre­dic­tions of about 100 ve­hi­cles in the first year, but the ex­port pro­gram will boost morale at the fac­tory in Broad­mead­ows, Vic­to­ria, fol­low­ing fall­ing Fal­con sales and ma­jor gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies for the three Aus­tralian car pro­duc­ers.

It is the au­to­mo­tive equiv­a­lent of sell­ing coal to New­cas­tle, given Thai­land is a ma­jor re­gional pro­duc­tion hub for all car­mak­ers. Ford al­ready sources the Fi­esta light car and Ranger pickup from Thai­land, and will soon bring in Thai-built Fo­cus mod­els.

Ford says it is show­ing its seven-seat Ter­ri­tory Ti­ta­nium 2.7-litre V6 tur­bod­iesel model, fit­ted with a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

It also notes the Bangkok show marks the Ter­ri­tory’s launch in the ASEAN mar­ket, rather than just Thai­land — though Mr Mcdon­ald said Thai­land was the fo­cus for now.

‘‘It’s a toe-in-the-water ex­er­cise show­cas­ing the topend ve­hi­cle as a pre­mium seven-seater,’’ he said.

Thai­land im­poses a 50 per cent tar­iff on im­ported diesel cars and 60 per cent on petrol ve­hi­cles.

‘‘The tax sit­u­a­tion means we’re fo­cus­ing on a sin­gle pre­mium model in the Ti­ta­nium tur­bod­iesel,’’ Mcdon­ald said.

New Zealand is the only other ex­port mar­ket for the Ter­ri­tory and takes 1500 of the mid-sized SUVS a year.

This is not the first time Ford has tried to gain a toe­hold for the Ter­ri­tory in Thai­land.

The com­pany ex­ported 20 ve­hi­cles pow­ered by its 4.0-litre six-cylin­der petrol en­gine in 2006.

The busi­ness case went bust when the Thai ne­go­tia­tors for the free-trade agree­ment added a 60 per cent tax on for­eign ve­hi­cles that were pow­ered by en­gines with a ca­pac­ity of more than 3.0 litres.

Ford is show­ing the Ter­ri­tory SUV at this month’s Bangkok Mo­tor Show to test con­sumer re­ac­tion

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