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via and 'borrowed' from jpd80 @ BON

Long wait for Falcon Turbo buyers -
Published : Friday, 10 July 2009
words - Ken Gratton

< much better title from jpd80 >

Falcon Turbos all sold out through to the end of September, FoA CEO "Our plan is working, it's as simple as that."

Ford Australia President Marin Burela told journalists at last month's sales briefing that buyers of the Falcon G6E Turbo were facing a wait until the end of July for delivery. And as of today, the news just got worse.

"G6E Turbo we've sold out, right through almost to the end of September now," Ford President Marin Burela said at the July sales briefing today. Asked whether Ford would find a way to increase production in the shorter term, Burela rationalised away the prevailing situation.

"I wouldn't want to [ramp up production]," he said. "What we need to see over the next six months is a stabilisation of the demand -- and once we have that level of stability, we will continue to look at how we fine-tune the different derivatives to ensure we get the right product in the right place at the right time.

"This is a nice problem to have. It is a very different problem from the one I spoke about last October and November. But a lot of what you're seeing here has got nothing to do with the industry. It has everything to do with the way that we've managed our company -- and the way we've communicated, the way we've streamlined, the way we've worked with our dealers, the way we've gone out there and marketed.

"It has been very, very specific, very planned, very targeted -- and the results are coming through. Our plan is working, it's as simple as that. Nothing has happened by accident."

The production planning issue is one associated with component supply generally -- and turbochargers in particular, it seems. According to Burela, there's been a rush on XR model Falcons, which would include a good number of XR6 Turbo models. The sporty Falcons sold barely 500 units in March, but have been picking up market share ever since. Last month, the XR Falcons alone accounted for nearly 2000 units sold.

Ford has been micromanaging its local production for months (more here), but demand for Ford's products is now exceeding supply on numerous fronts.

Territory buyers literally couldn't get enough of the SUV last month, Burela said. Falcon Ute enjoyed the best month for sales since June 2006 and more Falcons were snapped up by private buyers than at any time since November 2005.

"Once again, we didn't have a single ute left in the company to move over the line to our dealers,"
he said. With insufficient stock to meet demand during June, Ford's market share slipped backwards. For the year to date, the company has expanded its market share against competitors, but June was a setback -- in theory. In practice, the market share shortfall was more than offset by the actual increase in stock being rolled out the door.

"Our month [June] was a great month..." said Burela.

"Our share was down, but the share being down was as a consequence of one, availability, and two, the fact that the industry just accelerated so high. And if you look at where our competition was, versus us, they had so much inventory still left in the system -- whereas we didn't. We moved our inventory and worked very hard at getting our dealer stock down, getting our company stock down -- and we've got a fantastic pipeline now, between us and our dealers.

"The cars are moving through the system, we build them, we move them, we do not park them on the grass."

According to the Ford president, the company was holding between 8000 and 9000 units "on the grass" as recently as seven months ago.

Last month, Burela had expressed mild concern that July would be a slow month for sales after the huge month in June, but production capacity at Broadmeadows is spoken for through July and August, with the company now working out what needs to be given priority for September. This is the company that has been building cars to individual customer order, remember.

"Our order bank for July is very healthy," he said. "In fact, our production is sold out for July, for August -- and we're taking orders for September."

June production was hindered by Ford's need to shift component production from a voluntarily liquidated component supplier to Venture Industries. The company's production line was stood down for a day as a consequence.

"We could not produce another car," Burela said.

"We had originally planned some non-production days in June, that we cancelled. We have no non-production days planned for the rest of the year.

"That's a significant difference between us and our competitors. Our production plan between now and year end is fully loaded.

"We feel... that we've got the right balance between the way we've set the company up, versus demand. We are absolutely building the right cars that people want to buy."
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