Ford's finances improve
Significant spending on future programs and low domestic sales contributed to Ford Australia recording a net operating loss after tax of $5.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2001.
However, the 2001 financial result is an improvement on the previous year ($16.1 million loss) and sets the company in the right direction for continued improvement in 2002 and beyond.
"We recognised that Ford would record a loss this year. However, the final result is better than we'd expected earlier in the year," said Ford Australia President, Mr Geoff Polites.
"We are undergoing the most significant period of investment in future product in the history of Ford Australia. Those costs have had a significant impact on our results. We expect to break even in 2002 and return to profit in 2003 once our new Falcon has been on sale for a full 12 months."
Ford attributes the better than expected results to waste reduction initiatives instigated throughout the company.
"Ford Australia is an extremely efficient business," said Mr Polites. "Every aspect of the company has been scrutinised and made even more efficient to ensure that waste is eliminated."
Despite a lower share of the overall market in 2001 (13.8% versus 14.5% in 2000), Mr Polites says that 2001 brought some good news for Ford and that the company is poised to increase its market share in 2002.
"We definitely had a tough year in 2001," he said. "But in amongst that was the announcement of our new $500 million vehicle line; the intake of the first large number of apprentices in 10 years; our best-ever customer satisfaction results; and continued development of the new Falcon which is scheduled for introduction late in 2002.
"The most significant event of 2001 was the announcement of our new vehicle line which will come on stream in 2004," said Mr Polites.
"This is a huge investment in an all-new vehicle that will be different to anything previously designed and manufactured in Australia, and it's a clear indication of the strength of the company and its future potential.
"The vehicle will be produced alongside the new Falcon, to be released later this year, and will be built in the same manufacturing and assembly facilities in Melbourne and Geelong.
"The costs of both programmes have had an impact on this year's financial results, but it's the same investment that will see us making significant improvements in market share and profitability in the near future," he said.