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Old 11-11-2002, 00:43   #1 (permalink)
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Secret Ford Department

Standard disclaimer

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that there is a Top Secret Department within Ford Australia that is entirely responsible for stupid decisions and creating unhappy Ford owners. I used to believe that it was only restricted to Product Planning and Marketing but the stupidity seems to cross so many boundaries that I think it must be a unique group.

I'd love to see their mission statement but it probably goes something like this:

Our mission is to create an environment where even the best product in the world fails to succeed despite the best efforts of the production and development staff within Ford Australia. To achieve this mission we will endeavour to make full use of all the resources available to assist us in the following key performance indicators:

1. We will build as many cars as we can that people don't want but keep the models in demand on short supply.
2. We will provide as much misinformation as we possibly can.
3. We will expend our $M marketing budget on our best selling product so that the rest can remain a mystery.
4. We will endeavour to ensure that desired features are not available.


So you may well ask what has incurred my wrath???

Having heard on the grapevine that Ford were finally accepting orders for the FPV range of vehicles I made a visit to my local friendly dealer to enquire about the progress of my order.
You might well imagine my surprise when I was informed that orders could only be taken for manuals as the auto gearbox would not be ready until February builds. (By the way if you are planning on an XR8 the same applies). This was disappointing enough but on further investigation we discovered that Blood Orange won't be available till March builds so even if I was prepared to accept a manual I couldn't have my colour of choice.

I am not the worlds most patient person and my immediate reaction was to tell them where to shove it - but then it is hardly their fault is it??

Now I could live with all this if it weren't for the fact that our friends in product planning have decided to continue building FPV product in manual only form during the period until the autos arrive. They have based this on their belief that the model mix will be 50/50 manual to auto anyway - I seriously doubt that this will prove to be right and if it's not we are going to be facing the same old situation all over again. Dealers with excess stock and discounting early in the model cycle.
Now I could be wrong here (won't be the first time) but having spoken to a couple of dealers here is a summary of their view. This is based on XR8 by the way but a similar scenario will apply to GT/GT-p.
Both of these dealerships have been allocated reasonable numbers of XR8 for early 2003 - all manual of course. They are of the view that they can probably sell 25-30% of the vehicles allocated and thus the remaining allocation will be picked up by other (less discerning) dealers. These dealers will then (eventually) offload these excess vehicles at significant discounts.
Not good for the XR8 buyers who pay top whack and not good for the model resale value.

Whatever opinions we may see on these boards from time to time - the reality is that premium product lines such as the XR and FPV vehicles inevitably end up in a 80/20 bias towards the auto transmission. By my (very simple) calculations a 50/50 mix based on GP's 2000 sales prediction would make an excess of some 600 manual GT/GT-p cars. Not good.
While we are on the topic I should wonder if the mix between GT/GT-p will end up right? In T3 the mix was so badly screwed that I wouldn't be putting money on it.

While we are on the subject of auto transmissions has anyone yet got a confirmed delivery date for an XR6T auto?? I'd be interested to hear.

It surprises me that with GP's dealership background the same old mistakes keep being repeated. I've said it before but I still believe that the just in time manufacturing process lends itself to a build to order system. We are in the year 2002 and I would have thought that the market should determine what is built - not the tea leaf and tarot card readers who have repeatedly proven their inability to predict anything. Maybe they are all ex weather forecasters.
I am not trying to belittle the complexity of the issues involved here - I am well aware that I am oversimplifying things for the sake of clarity. Maybe it will never be possible to use BTO on mainstream product but with the relatively small FPV volumes I fail to see the difficulty. Must just be thick.

While I am having a good vent - let me cover off one of the other oft cited arguments that gives me the you-know-whats.
Whenever complaints and issues are raised against the dealer network we hear this old chestnut about them being independant businesses. Call me old fashioned but it is an absolute crock. The dealers represent the Ford front line and if they aren't enhancing the image - get rid of them. It's called economic power. Furthermore when they start discounting the excess vehicles that the product planners have created don't wash your hands of it just because they are considered to be "sold" from a Ford persepctive once they leave the factory gate. The moral responsibility for creating oversupply (and thus diminishing resale values) is firmly with the decision makers. Oversimplified again I know - but sometimes the simplest view is best rather than falling back on the old crutches.

Before I get flamed for chewing out Ford let me say this ...

1. The product is magnificent.
2. The marketing effort (to date) has been excellent.

It is now incumbent on Ford to leverage that good work and ...

1. Deliver product that the market wants.
2. Go public on unexpected delays before someone else lets the feline out of the hessian.
3. Clean up the dealer network.
4. Build a strong retained value for the customers who fork out their hard earned.

Then maybe we can all live happily ever after.

Cheers
Russ
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Old 11-11-2002, 01:23   #2 (permalink)
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Russ, there is not one comment there that I could disagree with. I wholeheartedly endorse everything you said. I have an XR6T ute on order but my dealer cannot give a confirmed date for delivery - he is contacting Ford every week and gets the same reply - maybe late Jan early Feb. I can foresee it being Easter. That is how long it took to get my T3, ie. two months longer than original date.
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Old 11-11-2002, 01:46   #3 (permalink)
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In addition to the auto and colour problems, perhaps we should also mention the Product Planners huge blunder with their 18" wheel order from ROH.

I'd be interested to hear if any of the people who have taken delivery of their XR6's have ordered the optional 18's?

My car is finished, complete and sitting in a holding yard waiting for the wheels to turn up from ROH - current projected date is apparently the 14th...

I'm sure Russ can elaborate further on this issue, as he was the one who found out the truth of the matter for me after my dealer gave me the usual garbage answers.

I have no doubt that this isn't the last of 'issues' that will crop up with Barra, but I agree with Russ that Ford should be right out front TELLING us - the prospective and impatient owners - what is going on with our orders and why these delays are happening.

All the work they've done to bring out such a fantastic product is in danger of falling in a big heap because those of us that have ordered are now being stuffed around left, right and centre by dealers who have nothing but an annoying smokescreen to offer...


Another 2c from me

Cheers

Jason
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Old 11-11-2002, 07:56   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, your not the only dissapointed ford fan...stuff like this really gets to me (I live in a town where driving a holden is cool and driving a falcon is not).
I am sick of silly little mistakes by ford letting down a big part of the business. OK i'm in the country..but the only ford add i have seen in the last 2 weeks was at 11.30pm (pointless) of course apart from the ads on during V8 Supercars.
What ford need is to pick up on these mistakes and turn them into a real gem, i'm sure the way Ford Aus are going, this could be very soon. But the day it comes i'll be so happy and releaved i'll be crying in joyness.
You guys probably don't respect my opinion much because i'm a 17 year old, but don't put that past me, i try my best to put things into perspective before louding my opinions.
I really do hope gets their act together with these silly mistakes that are easily made not possible. And I really hope that nation wide dealers are doing their part in the business (seems like that's on a down fall at the moment in quite a few places).
Well said Russ, couldn't agree more.
Come on Ford Aus, make us satisfied happy customers (yes a big task to cover all sorts of different people, but i beleive Ford Aus can do it, but as a team.)

Cheers.

Mason.
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Old 11-11-2002, 15:19   #5 (permalink)
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woot woot, so I should be able to get a dicscount on my GT by mid-late next year!

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Old 11-11-2002, 15:19   #6 (permalink)
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OK, here comes the man in the blue corner, boxing gloves on, and DING DING, here we go. Alright dudes i can see that there are delays on some of the products but if some of us remember, it was only 2 weeks ago that Ford and the media did say the GT was to be released in March. Now in March, we will see both the GT auto and the Blood Orange colour as well. Perhaps they should release the manual around March as well to not put the auto buyers noses out of joint. That would be fair. Now as for built to order that should have been done on T1, T2 because buying a 220kw TS50 for $82000 when a 220kw GMH SS was at $45000 would have been a damm hard task. Only Diehard Ford fans would have done something like that and it obviously shows in resale value that the cars were terribly overpriced. On the other the FPV range of vehicles will be the closest thing you, the potential owner will get to driving such a high powered car for that sort of brass. Look at the XR6T. They will have outstanding resale value because they are class leading in terms of performance, bang for you buck and handling. The GT will have the same ingredients so please everyone just hang in there and i am sure it will be worth while both for the short and long term. I am just bleeding i am not allowed to buy one of these horn fighters. I would buy a GT. The reason for that is, you can turn the automotive market upside down, BUT FOR UNDER 70K YOU ARE NOT GETTING 290KW AND 520NM OF TORQUE FROM ANYONE ELSE GET IT! I am still bleeding i can't afford one. Russ can I have a tissue from the tissue box holder in your forthcoming GTP?
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Old 11-11-2002, 15:54   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by LoverBoy
You guys probably don't respect my opinion much because i'm a 17 year old, but don't put that past me, i try my best to put things into perspective before louding my opinions.
Man , who isnt 17 around here!?!?!
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Old 11-11-2002, 17:04   #8 (permalink)
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Patience not a real virtue???

Maybe Mr Polites should have a chance to respond before we all go off half cocked in our "discussions".

nonetheless, this is exactly the reason I wait for series 2, 3, etc.

I can understand the concept of "build to order", however Ive noticed many holden dealers have a number of ss's, monaro's, etc on the lot which will cater for the impulse buying "I want one right NOW!! " market - maybe Ford should take a leaf??.

It is qiute ironic that manuals take preference over autos in the interim, while the TV ad shows the new tiptronic auto which WILL be more popular...hmmmmm????

What do you say Geoff?
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Old 11-11-2002, 19:13   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by JR


In addition to the auto and colour problems, perhaps we should also mention the Product Planners huge blunder with their 18" wheel order from ROH.

I'd be interested to hear if any of the people who have taken delivery of their XR6's have ordered the optional 18's?

My car is finished, complete and sitting in a holding yard waiting for the wheels to turn up from ROH - current projected date is apparently the 14th...

Well i'm getting my car this friday. XR6T with 18's.

I spoke to the dealer 5mins ago and he didn't mention anything about issues with 18' rim delivery, or delays of picking my car up.
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Old 11-11-2002, 19:45   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Secret Ford Department

Quote:
Originally posted by russellw
[I]I used to believe that it was only restricted to Product Planning and Marketing but the stupidity seems to cross so many boundaries that I think it must be a unique group.
You should know idiocy has...No Boundaries.

Seriously though I really would like Ford to take note of your observations, even though I would have thought these issues would have all been worked on extensively.
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