Ford posts strong profit result
09:36 AEST Wed May 18 2005
Ford Australia will reinvest in future model lines and investigate new technologies and products after posting its best financial result for almost a decade.
The company has posted an after-tax profit of $185.6 million for the 2004 calendar year, its best result since 1996 and a 20 per cent improvement on the $154.6 million it made in 2003.
The company said the result came on sales worth $4.1 billion, a 5.6 per cent rise, with demand for its vehicles reaching 135,172, a 6.8 per cent improvement.
Ford Australia President Tom Gorman said the profit result reflected the company's strong performance during 2004, amid the increased competitiveness of a booming local car industry.
"We recorded our best retail sales performance in almost a decade, which resulted in a total year market share of 14.2 per cent, up 0.3 percentage points over the prior year," Mr Gorman said.
"Last year was also the second year in a row of market share growth for the company.
"The overwhelming market acceptance of the Territory range, which saw it achieve segment leadership and the title of top selling sport utility in Australia for six consecutive months, was the primary driver behind the sales increase."
Demand for the Territory, as well as the Fiesta small car, also offset a 10.7 per cent reduction in sales of it volume-selling Falcon.
Most importantly, Mr Gorman said Ford sold 101,279 locally-produced vehicles during 2004.
"This represents a 5.7 per cent increase over 2003, which has our manufacturing plants continuing to operate at full capacity," he said.
"The strong 2004 profit result will allow us to reinvest in future model lines, investigate new technologies and product initiatives and further streamline our manufacturing processes.
"This reinvestment will be vital to the future development of our business as the Australian automotive market continues to become more competitive.
"We will continue our emphasis on developing quality vehicles that meet market demand, utilising our manufacturing plants to their best capacity and reducing cost in our business."
In the local sales race last year, Ford finished third behind Toyota and Holden.
But its Falcon remained the nation's second best selling vehicle behind the Holden Commodore.
To the end of April this year the company's sales were up 6.5 per cent to 42,616.