Ford Middle East witnessed a sterling performance in 2013 with total sales rising 12 per cent year-on-year and breaking the 85,000 unit milestone. The strong results from both the Ford and Lincoln brands come in thanks to continued orchestrated efforts from Ford Motor Company and its local importer-dealers to bring world-class Ford and Lincoln products closer to customers, while investing in expanding the parts and service network around the region.
In Qatar, sales grew by 22 percent in 2013, with Almana Motors, the local importer-dealer for Ford and Lincoln, recording a strong fleet sales growth of about 25 percent and a 17 per cent increase in retail sales. These results kick in thanks to the dealership’s continued efforts to expand the presence of Ford and Lincoln products in the local market, and investing in developing the after-sales service capacity to support local customers. Attractive offers in retail finance and a warranty increase to 5 years / 100,000km also helped significantly boost Ford’s customer base in Qatar.
“This is an exciting time for Ford here in the Middle East. We have crossed a remarkable milestone in 2013 and we expect a stronger performance this year,” said Thierry Sabbagh, Ford Middle East’s director of Sales. “Our customer base continues to grow in the Middle East, especially in Qatar, thanks largely to the continued commitment of our importer-dealer, Almana Motors, to growing the Ford business in the local market.
“We are in full swing for a strong start to 2014, gearing up to launch seven new products this year while working to increase service capacity to support our growing customer base as we intensify efforts with our dealers to deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction and lower cost of ownership,” he added.
The Middle East’s positive results come in just weeks after Ford Motor Company announced total US sales of 2,493,918 units, cementing Ford as America’s best-selling vehicle brand for the fourth consecutive year. The end of year results also saw annual sales records set for Ford Fiesta, Fusion and Escape, and the F-Series – which sealed their undisputed leadership as America’s Best Selling Trucks for the 37th straight year.
Ford also reported last week 2013 full year pre-tax profit of $8.6 billion, one of the company’s best years ever, driven by the highest Automotive pre-tax profit in more than a decade and continued solid profit from Ford Credit. Full year net income for 2013 was $7.2 billion.
Additionally, Ford recently announced the creation of its fifth global business unit – Ford Middle East and Africa – as of Jan 1, 2014. Operating out of Dubai, the new unit is divided into two sub-regions – South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa –covering 47 markets across the region.
“Ford’s positive performance in the Middle East marks a strong start for the new FMEA business unit overall,” said Kalyana Sivagnanam, Director, Ford Middle East & North Africa. “The Middle East and Africa is a region with tremendous potential for growth for the automotive industry with sales likely to increase by about 40 percent to around 5.5 million units by 2020. Ford intends to be a strong player in this region, bringing our customers more world-leading Ford and Lincoln vehicles and technologies, while staying true to our principles of being active and supportive members of the community.
“Ford Motor Company’s commitment to the Middle East and Africa region is stronger than ever, with considerable investments already in process as we bring more products to customers through our One Ford global vehicle and technology portfolio, including 17 new or refreshed vehicles in the next 24 months such as Fusion, EcoSport, Lincoln MKC, Mustang and F150, to name but a few,” added Sivagnanam, while reiterating how Ford is supporting its dealers in expanding their service capacities and raising the bar on customer satisfaction across the region.
Strong Products Drive Ford Brand Further
Ford’s flagship sedan, Taurus, posted a 60 per cent growth in sales across the region, and took leadership of its segment in 2013 according to the Middle East Automotive Council (MEAC) report. The Mustang muscle car also saw its regional sales go up by nearly 10 percent, while in Qatar it delivered over 40 percent more sales. Focus regional sales went up by more than 10 per cent thanks to increasing demand on the sporty performance ST model. On the local front, the C-car’s sales went up by 22 percent, while Figo delivered 72 per cent more sales.
Ford Explorer continued to be the most popular mid-size utility vehicle, securing the top spot for its segment across the region according to MEAC data, with regional sales increasing by 13 per cent. In Qatar, the mid-size SUV saw a growth of 87 percent, while Edge sold 76 per cent more and the full-size Expedition registered over 30 percent increase.
Regional sales of the larger crossover Flex went up by 75 per cent in 2013. In the truck segment, the Ford Ranger small pickup continued to sell aggressively into fleet businesses recording over 200 per cent in regional sales, and more than double in Qatar, while the F-150 delivered double sales, further confirming the growing popularity of America’s best-selling truck in the region. In Qatar, F-150 sales in 2013 grew by 40 percent.
In 2013, Ford Middle East introduced the new Escape, Taurus SHO, Focus ST, and just recently the all-new EcoSport compact urban SUV, significantly adding to the diversity of the Ford portfolio throughout the GCC and Levant markets. And as the highly anticipated all-new Ford Fusion mid-size sedan hits the showroom floors in the next few weeks, the Blue Oval will have a compelling product offering in every segment.
Lincoln Luxury Gaining Ground
Ford Motor Company’s luxury brand, Lincoln, also had a tremendous performance in 2013, registering its highest growth rate ever, with 50 per cent more vehicles (2219 units) sold across the Middle East compared to 2012.
The regional strong performance was led by the high-end utility crossover MKX, which rose 125 per cent, and the Lincoln MKS full size sedan, which grew 81 per cent.
All-new products, such as the Lincoln MKZ mid-size sedan – the first to be rolled out from the dedicated Lincoln design studio –also attracted new customers to Lincoln showrooms around the region, further driving sales.
And with new offerings on the way to the region, such as the all-new MKC compact luxury SUV which is scheduled to arrive late this year, Lincoln is delivering on its promise of reinventing itself with all-new products and technologies that are unique to their respective segments.
“More and more customers are choosing Ford and Lincoln products not only for their segment-leading technologies and value for money, but also because they have created an emotional connection with the brand as they experienced the drive and saw the innovations our range offers,” said Sivagnanam. “This, coupled with our dealers’ focus on delivering a strong after-sales support and ownership experience, has made 2013 a successful year for Ford in the Middle East.”
Ford dealers across the Middle East were actively investing in growing their network in their respective markets, bringing Ford products and genuine parts closer to customers while expanding service capacities to provide the required after-sales support.
Nearly 20 fully-fledged facilities, showrooms, service centers as well as Quick Lane and Quick Parts outlets were opened across the GCC and Levant in 2013. Saudi Arabia also boosted presence of Quick Lane outlets with 12 already in operation and expects to increase its Quick Parts stores network to 60 outlets by the end of this year. More than 40 facilities are currently in process around the region.
As part of Ford’s ongoing efforts to improve customer service and increase buyer loyalty, customer experience and satisfaction remains a high priority, driving more focus on training and technical skills development across all dealerships as they expand.
“The momentum is strong, and everyone truly owns their part, working seamlessly to deliver what the Ford customer wants: great products, the latest technologies, world-class dealerships, low cost of ownership, high customer satisfaction levels and an unmatched ownership experience,” Sivagnanam concluded.
Ford Middle East Public Affairs
Thursday, February 6- 2014 @ 9:32 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.