DOWNTURN gloom has escaped Ford Retail, which reports a 3 per cent increase in its 2008 new car sales.
This is against the backdrop of a market down over 11 per cent. And the winners? Small cars.
Chief Exec Chris Hayden revealed that ‘we have seen a significant increase in small car sales, as many customers are downsizing to reduce their motoring costs.
‘These are sales, too – not registrations.’ It has helped the dealer group’s retail side grow by 10 per cent.
The launch of the new Ford Fiesta has been a particular success for the 59-strong Ford-owned dealer group. ‘It’s simply a car people want,’ Hayden told Car Dealer.
Hayden expects interest to continue into 2009, as his group takes delivery of the first new Ford Ka models.
Ford is following a trend seen in the rest of the market, where sales of sub-120g/km CO2 cars have increased by 25 per cent. Ford says it now has 51 cars emitting less than this benchmark – including the road tax-free Ford Fiesta Econetic.
‘CO2 is now a daily conversation in showrooms,’ said Hayden. ‘Customers are aware, so it’s crucial we reflect this.
‘Luckily, we have the cars people want. That’s why, in the context of the current climate, I’m positive for 2009.
‘People are downsizing, but we have the product.’ It’s going to be tough, says Hayden, but he is cautiously optimistic for 2009… again, despite the gloom of the industry.
Proof that, fortunately, there is still good news out there!