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Ford faces up to downsizing battle

Date: 13 June 2011   |   Author: Rachel Burgess

Trying to persuade business drivers into smaller-engined cars is an ongoing battle, according to Ford managing director Nigel Sharp.

After introducing a 1.6 Mondeo with 114g/km CO2 in February this year, the carmaker is now "trying to convince people to take the 1.6 over the 2.0".

"People are very stubborn. We need to get cars out there for people to test drive," said Sharp. "It's the same with safety technology - people don't know they want it because they don't know what it is."

He added that it normally takes at least six months after launch for sales to pick up: "It takes time particularly to get through to user choosers. The thing that will trigger that user is the tax benefits."

Emissions on the Mondeo are not expected to drop further until a new model arrives in a "couple of years".

Sharp also said the brand continues to focus on improving the residual values of its cars: "We have to prove ourselves over time to the RV predictors because their predictions are based on past behaviour."

Five years ago, 85,000 cars went through the rental channels; it's now around 40,000. Ford is also reacquiring more of its used cars through buy back.

"Channels take time to establish," said Sharp. "We currently have about 30,000 vehicles through Ford Direct and are looking to double that number."

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