UK: Ford's private buyers go top drawer

By just-auto.com editorial team | 7 November 2007

Ford's UK unit is again finding that buyers are increasingly choosing the top-specification version of its newest models, this time the D-segment Mondeo.

Latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that the automaker is winning more retail (ie private buyer) business and such buyers are opting for luxury models.

Sales of the recently redesigned Mondeo - well praised by consumer writers - to private customers, as opposed to corporate fleet buyers, are up by over 20% year on year, and more than half of such retail orders are for the top models.

Ford had a similar experience with its S-Max family crossover, which was praised for its sporty driving characteristics in the consumer press.

Since the latest Mondeo went on sale in June, more than 16,500 have been registered in the UK and almost 52% of customers have specified top trim levels such as Titanium.  This compares with a share of under 35% for equivalent high series Mondeos two years ago.
Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, Roelant de Waard, said: "Customers are impressed by the new Mondeo's equipment list. They're delighted by high-tech features such as adaptive cruise, which adjusts speed relative to the vehicle in front, active suspension and adaptive front lights which beam around corners. These Ford converts are helping us to hit the retail jackpot this year."

Focus (the European model is effectively a generation ahead of the redesigned model just launched in North America) volumes destined for private buyers are up more than 7% compared with last year. The related Galaxy minivan and S-Max continue to enjoy soaring retail registrations - doubling since October 2006.

In total this year 306,054 cars and 80,789 commercial vehicles have been registered by Ford - almost 6,500 more than last year. Demand for the UK-built Transit van, making up the majority of the company's CV sales, has led to extra production at the Southampton assembly plant, Ford noted.

The passenger modesl are imported from Europe, in Germany, Belgium and Spain.