TRUCKS and Heavy Equipment approached Ford SA’s sales management team for comment both on their LCV market position and their overall view.
Are you optimistic about the road ahead within your sector? Why?
We certainly are. Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) has maintained an impressive sales momentum over 2015.
A highlight has been the Ford Ranger, which was South Africa’s top selling vehicle for the first six months of the year. Total Ford sales reached 6 622 units for August, up almost 3% on the figure of 6 429 recorded for July 2015.
Yearto- date, overall sales have increased by 10,5% compared to the same period last year. The Ford Ranger returned to the top of the one-ton pick-up segment with a total of 2 472 sales in August – dominated by the 2 379 units retailed through the crucial dealer channel.
A highlight has been the Ford Ranger, which was South Africa’s top selling vehicle for the first six months of the year
Ford has maintained a positive sales trend in tough trading conditions, driven by the superb value for money, trend-setting features and exceptional performance and economy delivered by our current product range.
We expect this to continue for the balance of the year as we introduce a number of highly anticipated new models to market, including the new Everest and Ranger.
What type of fleets are your LCVs targeted at?
Why should these companies purchase your light commercial vehicle? They target small businesses, rental and leasing companies, and logistic industries.
Then there’s the construction and mining industries too, as our vehicles are Built Ford Tough. Corporate businesses are also part of our target market, so ‘Yes, a wide net indeed’.
What new elements or technologies are being introduced to your light commercial vehicles to keep them efficient?
The new Ford Ranger, which will be launched in the fourth quarter of this year, is a powerhouse in terms of new technology.
Highlights on the safety front include ABS and ESP; Adaptive Cruise Control; Adjustable Speed Limiter; Lane Keep Assist; Lane Departure Warning; and no less than seven airbags.
On the ‘smart’ front, buyers can expect SYNC2 connectivity; Hill Launch Assist; Roll Stability Control; Hill Descent Control; Forward Alert with Collision Mitigation; and Heads-up Display, to name a few.
How important is the carbon footprint emanating from the next generation of light commercial vehicles and is this a key factor when fleet operators purchase new vehicles?
Ford has been moving to the EcoBoost engines in most of its offerings. Looking after the environment is one of Ford’s brand pillars – and reducing operating costs, especially fuel economy, is definitely the way forward.
Our data shows fuel as the third highest cost of running a fleet of vehicles – after the purchase price and depreciation.
What advice would you give fleet operators who are looking at purchasing new light commercial vehicles?
Price is not always the final decision when purchasing a vehicle. A calculated decision should be made on what the cost of ownership will be for the particular vehicle of choice over the period of usage for that particular vehicle.
Considering the concept of total cost of fleet ownership, is it an important concept for an operator, irrespective of the size of the fleet?
Definitely, it contributes to the overall cost. If the cost of ownership is not taken into account when the purchase is done, the additional cost to keep the vehicle on the road will have a surprising, even shocking, effect on the bottom line of the company, no matter how small the fleet.
Our complement of fleet staff is equipped with the right tools to assist any fleet operator to make the correct decision when a purchasing choice needs to be made.
What advice would you give to a fleet operator when it comes to considering the total cost of ownership?
A few key points to consider, over the lifespan of the vehicle, include:
- Reliability and utilisation of the vehicle;
- Running costs may have a greater impact than just the initial purchase price;
- Making sure that the correct vehicle is considered for the purpose/usage/ application;
- The cheapest price might not always be the best option in the long run;
- Do a calculated cost of ownership on the choices at hand.