BL sales suffer from Ford price-cutting
By Clifford Webb,
Austin Rover is an early casualty in the price war for new car sales triggered by Ford’s return to heavy discounting at the beginning of this month.
In the first 20 days of May, Austin Rover’s sales fell from 21 per cent of the market last month to less than 14 per cent. The market share of the Metro, the biggest selling car in Britain for the past two months, fell from 8.7 per cent to 4.8 per cent. The Vauxhall Cavalier now leads, followed by Ford’s Escort, Fiesta and Sierra, all with much improved sales. Mr Sam Toy, chairman of Ford of Britain responded to pressure from his dealers on May 4 and returned to the price war he quit eight months ago.
Bonuses of up to £350 a car have enabled dealers to offer Granadas and Capris at up to £1,500 below list prices, with up to £1,000 off Sierras. Ford dealers reported an immediate increase in showroom traffic. In the past ten days Ford’s market share has increased from 25.3 per cent to nearly 27 per cent and is still climbing.
Austin Rover is also suffering because of the resurgence of Japanese cars this month after a poor start to the year. In the first four months the Japanese took only 8.3 per cent of the market compared with their voluntary” ceiling of 11 per cent. So far this month they have taken more than 12.5 per cent.