Sales pitch: Toyota Australia president Ken Asano (left) is looking to Ford counterpart Geoff Polites (right) to help Toyota take market leadership.
Ford boss tells his troops to make Toyota number one
By BRUCE NEWTON 31 January 2003
FORD Australia boss Geoff Polites has charged his team with what he calls a "sacred duty" - help Toyota wrest market leadership from Holden.
It is not that Mr Polites is playing double agent, just that what helps Toyota in 2003 also helps Ford - and that's selling more Falcons.
Toyota Australia is determined to regain the top spot this year and a better sales performance by the Ford Falcon is a key part of that strategy.
It is something Toyota Australia president Ken Asano has already reminded Mr Polites of - more than once.
"Ken Asano regularly says to me when he sees me 'Geoff, you must do a better job'," said Mr Polites.
"He says 'when you do a better job I will be market leader' and he is banking on us doing that this year.
"He does the sums the same way we do. Every Falcon extra we sell is one less Commodore, every one less Commodore is one closer he is to market leadership.
"Ken is quite frank about it and he is quite right, to be honest. I tell our people it's their sacred duty to help Toyota be market leader this year."
* Ford is aiming for a 36.5 per cent share of the large passenger segment for Falcon in 2003, compared to 29.0 per cent in 2002. If the segment runs at 190,000 sales, that equals 69,350 BA sedans and wagons, compared to 54,629 predominantly AUIIIs sold in 2002.
* Mr Polites is confident of boosting Ford's overall market share, which at 13.2 per cent in 2002 was the lowest for the brand since the introduction of the Falcon - at least. Ford is estimating a shrinking 810,000 total market, which means even a 14 per cent share would only grow it from 2002's 109,194 to 113,400.
* Ford's 2003 sales campaign has not been helped by a price rise for the new Focus small car range on January 1, while a price rise is also expected for Falcon on February 1.