This is from the Australian Financial review 10-6-2003
RESURGENT FORD BOUNCES BACK
By George Lekakis
Later this month Ford Australia president Geoff Polites is expected to announce that his company returned to profit in calender 2002, ending a two-year run of losses.
After several years in the doldrums, Ford is recovering market share in the domestic automotive industry on the back of strong sales for the BA Falcon, which was launched towards the end of last year.
In the first five months of 2003, the company has increased car sales by almost 7000 or 16 per cent to 49,159.
That is more than double the 6 per cent growth rate for the industry as a whole.
While there is still a long way to travel before Ford can re-establish itself as Australia's biggest-selling make, Mr Polites believes the wheel has turned on the company's domestic fortunes.
``We've had some exceptional circumstances that have helped sales for Ford and the industry at large a very strong domestic economy, low interest rates and the move to the GST regime, which has lowered the cost of cars,'' he said.
``So, the stars have lined up for us and we've had very rapid growth.''
Ford is in the final stages of its biggest expansion in the Australian market, a $500 million investment to design and produce an all-wheel-drive wagon to be marketed as the Territory.
The new product, which is scheduled to go on sale in the June quarter of next year, will be the first sports utility vehicle produced by Ford in the world.
The sports utility market has been the fastest-growing car segment in Australia in the last decade, but is dominated by imports.
Mr Polites believes that the expansion will ensure revenue growth for Ford Australia over the next decade, particularly as the opportunity to increase sales of large passenger vehicles becomes more difficult.
Moreover, Ford is the only domestic car maker that does not have an export program and this has accentuated the importance of Territory to the company's future in Australia.
``Local car makers can't grow any more on the Falcon, Commodore and Camry sales bases, so we have to grow new products off the production platforms that we've got,'' Mr Polites said.
Holden is also planning to launch a range of sports utilities to compete against imports from Toyota and Nissan by early next year.
Mr Polites is guarded about the company's sales targets for the Territory.
``We haven't nominated a number, but we're not looking at niche volumes,'' he said.
``Sports utilities are going from no sales in Australia 10 years ago to equalling the large passenger segment on forecast sales for 2005.''
Mr Polites recently took over from Holden CEO Peter Hanenberger as chairman of the peak car industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
The chamber is preparing a submission to the federal Department of Transport and Regional Services on proposed tighter standards for car emissions in Australia in 2006.
The new standards would bring permissible emission levels into line with the European benchmark, known as Euro 4.
Local car makers have already spent more than $50 million on research and development to make their engines compliant with Euro 3, but Mr Polites believes that the regulators need to take a pragmatic approach to mandating the new standard.
``At the end of the day the investments required to move to the next stage of lower emissions are horrendous,'' he said.
``You can't just sort of turn up the wick on local production to pull things ahead because they are pretty significant investments.''
Mr Polites said the development of more environmentally friendly car engines may do little to reduce emissions in Australia unless fuel quality was improved.
Recent industry research found that the average octane level in Australian fuel was about 91 per cent. The FCAI has been lobbying the oil companies to lift the octane level to above 95 per cent.
``We need to put the very best engine technology in cars and that requires the very best fuel,'' Mr Polites said.
``You can't run state-of-the-art, direct-injected diesel engines on high-sulphur fuel.''
91% octane average for our fuel eh? Wonder if thats calculated on the fuel we CAN purchase, being a mix of LRP, unleaded and the premo stuff (which is meant to be 98)
Surely it would only be the normal stuff.......
And i whole-heartedly agree that the levels should be up around the 95 mark...premo should do to 102....means i can run more timing, and all the import guys can run specs similar to those in japan, where the octane there is 98 (correct me if im wrong)
As for emissions testing, what does each level represent, and what kind of things are they looking for?
I never actually knew the octane reading was a percentage, Im confused now as how can you get some high performance fuels with an octane reading higher than 100???
Car's I have owned. First car purchased in July 1994, in order of ownership.
VC Valiant 245Hemi, 280zx Nissan 5 speed, 88 EA 3.9CFI,94 ED Gli X Chaser, 79 FC LTD, 351, FMX, 91 EA2 Fairmont Ghia, 1999 AU S pack, 2000 AU Forte, 1992 EB2 XR8, 2001 AU2 SR, 2002 VX2 Acclaim, 2002 VX2 Manual S pack,2003 BA XR6 manual, 2001 VX2 Berlina.
Octane isnt measured in percentage. Its measured in RON (Research Octane Number?). I read somewhere earlier that 74 RON fule is about 12% Octane. Dont know if this is right or if I remember it correctly but my point is they probly should have said 91 RON not percent.
. An octane number is a quantitative, but imprecise measure of the maximum compression ratio at which a particular fuel can be utilized in an engine without some of the fuel /air mixture "knocking" or self igniting
The Research Octane Number (RON, or F1) simulates fuel performance under low severity engine operation.
Classically, both numbers are measured with a standardized single cylinder, variable compression ratio engine. For both RON and MON, the engine is operated at a constant speed (RPM's) and the compression ratio is increased until the onset of knocking. For RON engine speed is set at 600 rpm and MON is at 900 rpm.
with the octane levels i heard from a source who works for a large petrol company that all the fuels are going to be taking a step up normal unleaded will become the same as premium
premium the same as optimax
and optimax to go to 103 ron
I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.