DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Ford Middle East enjoyed a sterling performance in 2013 with total sales rising 12 per cent year-on-year and breaking the 85,000 unit milestone.
These results can be attributed to the continued efforts of Ford Motor Company and Ford and Lincoln dealers to expand the presence of both brands throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Levant markets, as well as investing in after-sales service capacity. Attractive offers in retail finance and a warranty increase to 5 years/100,000km also helped significantly boost Ford’s customer base in the region.
“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, thanks largely to the continued commitment of our dealers to growing the Ford business in the local market.”
The Middle East is now part of the company’s fifth global business unit – Ford Middle East and Africa – which began operating Jan 1. Headquartered in 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 and 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 per cent 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. Here in the Middle East, we are gearing up to launch seven new products this year, including Fusion, EcoSport, Lincoln MKC, Mustang and F-150, to name but a few,” added Sivagnanam. He emphasized Ford is also 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 Taurus posted a 60 per cent growth in sales across the region and took leadership of its segment in 2013, according to a Middle East Automotive Council (MEAC) report. Focus regional sales went up more than 10 per cent thanks to increasing demand for the sporty performance ST model. Ford Mustang sales in the region also increased nearly 10 per cent in 2013.
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 sales increasing by 13 per cent. The Ford Flex sold 75 per cent more in the Middle East markets compared with 2012. In the truck segment, the Ford Ranger continued to sell aggressively into fleet businesses, with sales more than tripling, while the F-150 delivered double sales, further confirming the growing popularity of America’s best-selling truck in the region.
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 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 with 2012.
The strong performance was led by sales of 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, such as the all-new MKC compact luxury SUV, 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 record year for Ford and Lincoln 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 facilities, showrooms and service centers as well as Quick Lane and Quick Parts outlets were opened across the GCC and Levant in 2013. Saudi Arabia also boosted the 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 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 emphasized.