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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The altering face of Ford Australia

Earlier this week, we realized the Ford Puma is transitioning from an affordable-ish petrol SUV into an electric-only rival to the BYD Atto Three and MG ZS EV.

It by no means set the gross sales charts on fireplace, the Puma.

However its loss of life was a shock nonetheless, as a result of it was the ultimate try from Ford Australia to play in a preferred new automotive section that might provide huge gross sales quantity in assist of the the all-conquering Ranger ute.

The loss of life of the petrol Puma is the most recent step within the transformation of Ford Australia for the reason that loss of life of the Falcon – a metamorphosis that can this yr see the Blue Oval provide a variety heavy on industrial automobiles and electrical automobiles, and lightweight on the petrol passenger automobiles and SUVs that after had been its bread and butter.

Need a petrol automotive from Ford?

Very quickly, your three choices would be the Mustang muscle automotive, the powered-up Ranger Raptor, and the F-150 pickup truck.

The petrol Fiesta and Focus hatchbacks died in 2022, the Escape SUV was killed for Australia in 2023, and the petrol-powered Puma SUV shall be axed in the course of 2024.

Within the Puma’s place will sit the electrical Puma Gen-E; the up to date petrol mannequin gained’t make it to native showrooms.

The strong-selling Ranger ute and Everest off-roader, together with the Transit, Transit Customized, and Tourneo vans, are supplied solely with diesel energy, whereas the Mustang Mach-E, E-Transit, E-Transit Customized, and Puma Gen-E are electrical automobiles.

The upcoming Mustang shall be supplied with a naturally aspirated V8 or turbocharged four-cylinder, each of that are petrol-powered, whereas the Ranger Raptor packs a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6.

The brand new, remanufactured F-150 has a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6.

The altering vary at Ford Australia

It’s a far cry from even 5 years in the past, and reveals how considerably Ford has modified in Australia for the reason that finish of native manufacturing in 2016.

When the ultimate domestically made Ford rolled off the manufacturing line in 2016, two thirds of its fashions in Australia had been supplied with a petroleum engine.

That yr, it bought 5 SUV nameplates (EcoSport, Everest, Territory, plus the Kuga earlier than it was changed by the facelifted Escape) and 5 passenger automotive traces (Falcon, Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, Mustang), together with a three-strong Transit vary, and the Ranger ute.

On the finish of 2019, simply shy of half its automobiles had a petroleum engine.

It bought 4 SUV nameplates (EcoSport, Endura, Escape, Everest) and three passenger automobiles (Focus, Fiesta ST, Mustang), alongside the identical three-strong Transit van vary and Ranger ute.

Because it stood on the finish of 2023, only a quarter of the vary packed a petroleum possibility.

With the loss of life of the Escape, it bought three SUVs (Everest, Puma, Mustang Mach-E) and no passenger automobiles (the Mustang is coming again this yr, nonetheless).

As earlier than, the Transit and Ranger spherical out the lineup.

The Ranger Automotive Firm?

Ford is usually criticised for being the Ranger Automotive Firm.

It’s a nickname supported by the numbers. In 2023, the Ranger ute represented 72 per cent of all Ford gross sales in Australia. Throw within the associated Everest, and that leaps to 89 per cent.

They’re such necessary automobiles for Ford Australia, it’s chartered a devoted ship to ferry them from Thailand to Australia.

No different model within the high 10 for 2023 had such a heavy reliance on a single mannequin. 

The D-Max represented a smaller slice of the two-model Isuzu Ute vary, at simply shy of 69 per cent, whereas the Mannequin Y held a 62 per cent share of Tesla gross sales.

Toyota’s best-selling automobile, the HiLux, represented lower than 30 per cent of the model’s gross sales.

Regardless of its shrinking lineup of SUVs and passenger automobiles, particularly these in inexpensive or high-volume segments, Ford had a large yr in 2023 – its greatest since 2016.

Gross sales Ranger share of gross sales
2016 81,207 45.four per cent
2017 78,161 54.7 per cent
2018 69,081 61 per cent
2019 63,303 64.7 per cent
2020 59,601 68.7 per cent
2021 71,380 70.four per cent
2022 66,628 71.2 per cent
2023 87,800 72.2 per cent

It’s arduous to see that reliance on the Ranger getting smaller, given the Escape (which competes in considered one of Australia’s hottest new automotive segments) is gone, and the Puma (which was probably the most inexpensive Ford) shall be useless in petrol guise.

Rewinding by 20 years reveals the same scenario with the Falcon – in 2003, it accounted for 73.eight per cent of all Ford gross sales.

What are rivals doing?

Ford Australia’s vary seems very completely different to that of its rivals. It leans far more durable on its industrial automobile vary, and presents far fewer inexpensive passenger automobiles or SUVs.

Right here’s the way it in comparison with the highest 10 manufacturers in Australia throughout 2023.

SUV Passenger Industrial Whole
Toyota 98,655 34,204 83,381 215,240
Mazda 66,041 16,441 17,526 100,008
Ford 19,485 1654 66,978 87,800
Kia 45,434 30,686 N/A 76,120
Hyundai 49,309 23,366 2508 75,183
Mitsubishi 46,842 1 16,668 63,511
MG 37,384 20,962 N/A 58,346
Tesla 28,769 17,347 N/A 46,116
Subaru 39,717 6397 N/A 46,114
Isuzu Ute 14,139 N/A 31,202 45,341

Is any of this a nasty factor?

Not essentially, no. Ford Australia has a world-beating product within the Ranger, and it will probably’t be blamed for cashing in.

As was the case within the Falcon’s day although, it’s nonetheless struggling to show the unbelievable momentum of 1 mannequin into gross sales throughout its whole vary.

Primarily based on the present state of the market in Australia, the petrol Puma and Escape had been the 2 automobiles within the Ford vary greatest positioned to money in on that momentum.

The brand new F-150 additionally has the potential to make waves, though Ford hasn’t truly confirmed what number of it will probably convert to right-hand drive yearly.

Will it, together with the Mustang Mach-E and Puma Gen-E, succeed the place the Kuga, Escape, Puma, Focus, and Fiesta earlier than it have failed? Solely time will inform.

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