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New Ford Australia boss arrives

Joshua Dowling
8 December 2010
www.carpoint.com.au

Former Ford China chief, Robert Graziano, meets local press and dealers in his first 48 hours Down Under.

Fresh from a whirlwind trip between Melbourne, China and Detroit to finalise his relocation, Graziano flew to Adelaide to meet with local press at the launch of the updated Fiesta small car last night – within his first 48 hours in the top job. Another indication he intends to hit the ground running, the new president and CEO of Ford Australia was due to return to Melbourne this morning to meet with the Ford dealer council.

"There's not much I can tell you at this stage as I've only just had my feet under the desk for 48 hours," Graziano said during a brief and informal welcoming address over dinner.

"But, as you can imagine, I'm very happy to be here and I'm keen to get across the local industry as quickly as possible."

Graziano said he was aware that Australia was one of the most competitive new-car markets in the world.

"I'm well aware of what some of our challenges and opportunities are. We have a big year ahead with a lot of new model activity."

Ford's market share slipped to 9 per cent in November, but this was largely due to delayed shipments of the Fiesta and Focus small cars, the company said.

Ford is expected to launch at least six significant new models over the next 12 months, including a facelifted Territory (which will also be available with a much anticipated diesel engine), the all-new Ranger ute, four-cylinder and new LPG versions of the Falcon sedan, and the third-generation Focus small car late in the year.

Graziano comes to Australia after three years as the head of Ford's three joint venture operations in China. Before that he was exposed to the Australian market via his role as a senior executive at Mazda.

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