Ford Australia posts 2009 profit but faces uncertain future

Ford Australia posts 2009 profit but faces uncertain future

Ford Australia has just announced a net after-tax profit of $13 million AUS for 2009, which signals a huge turnaround from its $274m loss in 2008. The profit puts the Aussie carmaker in the black for the first time since 2005.

Marin Burela, Ford Australia big cheese, said the turnaround was a direct result of “decisive and immediate action” taken at the beginning of the global financial crisis in late 2008.

“We acted quickly to significantly restructure our business in line with the prevailing market conditions,” Mr Burela said. “We significantly changed our sales and production focus to build cars based on demand and introduced more fuel efficient vehicles like the Fiesta ECOnetic.”

“The great work of our product development team paid off as the award-winning FG Falcon sedan increased its share of the large sedan segment from 25 per cent to 34 per cent over the year.”

After Ford Australia employed a strict ‘build to order’ system, Falcon and Territory production numbers dropped by around 7000 units. This saw total sales for the year end at 99,279 vehicles – 9285 fewer than in 2008.

Revenue actually fell in 2009 by $200 million to $3.1 billion, but higher margins meant that Ford’s Broadmeadows assembly plant was now profitable.

Ford Australia is expecting a further sales growth in 2010 of 15 to 20 percent, but is yet to announce any plans for new models and facelifts.

While the company’s return to profit is impressive and good news, Ford Australia isn’t out of the woods yet. It is at a crossroads in the current product cycle and with minimal – if any development funds coming from the States for Australian-market-only models, it will still need major profit growth if its unique Aussie platforms are to survive the long term. Ford’s global ‘One Ford’ policy is still likely to have a defining effect on the future of Aussie Ford as we know it.

Ford Australia has just announced a net after-tax profit of $13 million AUS for 2009, which signals a huge turnaround from its $274m loss in 2008. The profit puts the Aussie carmaker in the black for the first time since 2005.

Marin Burela, Ford Australia big cheese, said the turnaround was a direct result of “decisive and immediate action” taken at the beginning of the global financial crisis in late 2008.

“We acted quickly to significantly restructure our business in line with the prevailing market conditions,” Mr Burela said. “We significantly changed our sales and production focus to build cars based on demand and introduced more fuel efficient vehicles like the Fiesta ECOnetic.”

“The great work of our product development team paid off as the award-winning FG Falcon sedan increased its share of the large sedan segment from 25 per cent to 34 per cent over the year.”

After Ford Australia employed a strict ‘build to order’ system, Falcon and Territory production numbers dropped by around 7000 units. This saw total sales for the year end at 99,279 vehicles – 9285 fewer than in 2008.

Revenue actually fell in 2009 by $200 million to $3.1 billion, but higher margins meant that Ford’s Broadmeadows assembly plant was now profitable.

Ford Australia is expecting a further sales growth in 2010 of 15 to 20 percent, but is yet to announce any plans for new models and facelifts.

While the company’s return to profit is impressive and good news, Ford Australia isn’t out of the woods yet. It is at a crossroads in the current product cycle and with minimal – if any development funds coming from the States for Australian-market-only models, it will still need major profit growth if its unique Aussie platforms are to survive the long term. Ford’s global ‘One Ford’ policy is still likely to have a defining effect on the future of Aussie Ford as we know it.

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