It’s been a turbulent few weeks for Ford Australia – from the highs of launching the new Ranger to the low of cutting half of its Ford Performance line-up. But it also perfectly sums up the position the blue oval brand finds itself in at present, almost entirely reliant on the success of its popular ute as all other models struggle.
That’s not an opinion – that’s just the facts.
Looking at the brand’s sales in the first half of 2022 – even as Ranger and its SUV sibling, the Everest, are on run-out to make way for the new model – the two models account for 86 per cent of the brand’s total sale in Australia.
Ranger leads the way with 19,794 sales in the first six months of the year, followed by the Everest in a distant second with only 4902 sales. Ford Australia’s third best-selling model is the Puma small SUV, but it only managed 1045 sales. Every other model in the range sold less than 1000 cars in the first half of the year.
Ford’s decision to drop the Focus and Fiesta ST is understandable as neither had significant demand and limited supply. But it’s not actually surprising that the Focus and Fiesta were small sellers, because with only the ST hot hatch variants available they became niche models.
With both gone, the Ford Performance line-up becomes limited to just the ageing Mustang and incoming new Ranger Raptor.
All of this trouble with slow sales and reduced model offerings is what makes the new-for-2023 Mustang so important for Ford in Australia. It will become not only the brand’s performance hero model but also it’s only passenger car and, potentially, a relatively large part of Ford’s total sales down under.
While the current model is at the end of its lifecycle so sales have naturally declined, at its peak in the pre-pandemic days, the Mustang repeatedly sold more than 6000 examples per year and was one of its best-selling models in Australia.
The introduction of a new model Mustang can’t come soon enough for Ford Australia but there’s no official timing for when we can expect it in local showrooms. We do know it will be revealed to the public at September’s Detroit Motor Show and the new-look will be rushed into Supercars in time for the new Gen3 era to begin at Newcastle early next year.
Hopefully that means the new ‘Stang will go on sale in Australia some time in the first half of 2023, but there are no guarantees in this era of semiconductor shortages and global shipping delays.
Even when the new Mustang arrives and is hopefully (for Ford’s sake) a hit, the company needs to continue to look for new models that can help reduce its dependence on the Ranger and Everest…