IT’S IRONIC that Ford is pulling out of V8 Supercars given there seems to be real excitement around Ford performance products for the first time in years, and it’s not just among the Ford faithful, but the public at large. The arrival of the Mustang and the waiting list for it has drawn the first really positive news stories about Ford since the announcement of the shutdown. And today I read the Focus RS is sold out.
Ford should be doing everything it can to filter this buzz to its entire range, linking the technology and charisma of the Mustang and Focus RS to its everyday models – they linked the Falcon to the Mustang back in the day (the “Mustang-bred Falcon” campaign).
The company’s wishy-washy attitude to motorsport (and marketing in general) I believe has a lot to do with its current predicament. What Ford fails to understand is that while motorsport may no longer be about ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’, it’s about the image – the long game. How many members of the general public have never seen an ATCC/V8SC race in their life, but have heard of Allan Moffat, Dick Johnson and now Mark Winterbottom?
They may not know whether Ford has won or lost, but they sure saw the news stories that Ford was pulling out of V8s, as well as local vehicle manufacturing. And Ford executives wonder why the general public has the misconception that Ford is pulling out of Australia completely?
As sad as the end of the Falcon and local manufacturing is, it has one upside: Ford can now wipe the slate clean and reinvent itself, and motorsport can be a big part of that.
Not sure where you read the Focus RS is sold out, Adam, but we can assure you that’s not the case. That said, Ford has a mountain to climb – ignore the Ranger and its best-selling model in January was the Territory, with Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, EcoSport and Kuga all soundly thrashed in their respective segments.