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Ford Australia eyes European models

From news.ninemsn | April 10,2007

Ford Australia plans to bring in more new models from Europe, as larger and more powerful fuel-guzzling cars fall out of favour with local motorists.

Ford Australia's chief executive Tom Gorman, who took the role in 2004, says the future will still hold challenges here for the automotive maker, which last year laid off 650 staff and cut 20 per cent of its production capacity.

"Specifically within Ford Australia it is going to be very challenging, but I think there are lot of opportunities with those challenges," Mr Gorman told Sky News.

"We are still doing a lot of very exciting things on the product side and we think there is in fact a lot of upside to our business."

Mr Gorman said he has seen a fundamental shift in the landscape of the automotive market in Australia, with larger, more powerful vehicles losing favour.

"The market has changed fundamentally and in our view it has changed permanently," he said.

"We're actively pursuing bringing more important products into this country and really being in the segments where our customers want us to be and that's the simple reason we think that we can turn around our share decline and grow our business profitably into the future."

Ford Australia had sales of around 76,000 last year and Mr Gorman believes this year's numbers will be similar, although a lot of growth will come in the second half of the year.

"We have an all new Focus coming out in the middle of this year... we're bringing in an all new Mondeo," he explained.

"We do see a lot of growth coming, particularly in the second half of this year."



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