BA Falcon helps Ford bridge the gap
By Bob Jennings
Monday April 28 2003
Commodores have long been renowned for holding their value better than their rivals, but the new Falcon is changing all that.
First, the good news. Strong demand for the new Falcon since its launch last year means that now that the cars are hitting the second-hand market, those selling them are getting premium prices.
Ford Australia president Geoff Polites said the second-hand value of BA model Falcons was averaging about $1000 higher than the equivalent VY Commodore.
The downside is that someone trying to find a second-hand BA is unlikely to find a bargain.
The second-hand BA will hold a strong value for about three years, said independent market analyst Tony Robinson, associate director of the Melbourne-based FACTeam (Fleet Audit Consulting and Training).
"Ford buyers have been out in the cold for several years when it comes to residual values, but that has turned right around," he said.
"I would agree with Polites's view on the second-hand values. But anyone buying a second-hand Falcon or Commodore should be aware that after about three years the differences are likely to flatten out just through the sheer numbers of the vehicles that come onto the market."
After the disastrous AU model Falcon, the BA has bounced back strongly. Sales of the Falcon in March (6393 vehicles) were the highest for any March since 1999, and were up 64.9 percent on last year.
The Commodore is still selling more, but the gap is closing. In the first three months of last year, the Commodore outsold the Falcon by about 9000 vehicles. This year the difference is about 3000.
The biggest buyers of Commodores and Falcons are company fleets, and the biggest buyer of fleet cars is LeasePlan, which claims to buy almost one in 10 of every new Commodore and Falcon sold.
It has more than 70,000 vehicles registered in Australia and says that among fleet buyers over the past six months, the new Falcon and VY Commodore were selling at a rate of about one to one with the odds even tipping slightly in favour of the Falcon.
This has reversed a trend in which fleet buyers have been taking Commodores at the rate of three to every one AU Falcon.
The turnaround has led to an improvement in Ford's second-hand values. It will be welcome news for Ford owners, who in the past have suffered when selling their cars.
The industry's Red Book guide to second-hand values shows that in private sales, the average price of the 2001 Falcon AU Forte ranged from $17,100 to $20,100. Prices for the equivalent Commodore VX Executive ranged from $20,000 to $23,300.
Whereas in the past, the canny big-car buyer would have chosen a Commodore every time on the basis of these figures, now the market has opened up to include the new Falcon.
When it comes to buying second-hand cars -- and letting someone else take the initial steep depreciation costs -- the wider the choice, the better for those doing the shopping.
Prices correct at publication date.
what do you guys think?