Ford Motor Company wrapped up August with 14.1 percent of the market and 923 units sold, fueled by the introduction of new products over the past year that offer quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value, company executives said during a meeting with members of the local press corps Thursday.
“It’s a very exciting time at Ford right now, we’ve had a good first half of the year in terms of financial results. Puerto Rico is a priority market for Ford, and the One Ford global strategy we’ve been implementing for the past four or five years is yielding positive results, and that includes the Puerto Rico and Caribbean market,” said Andrew Frick, sales director, export and growth for Ford.
Frick, who is on the island this week visiting the local operation, said the four vehicles introduced into the Puerto Rico/USVI market in less than a year, the Fiesta, the Focus, the Edge SUV and the Explorer, are steering the company’s growth as it looks to close in on the current market leader, Toyota.
“We’ve had strong growth as the industry has recovered, with our share going from 6.6 percent in 2008 to 11.6 percent overall market share now,” said Waldo Galán, managing director of Ford international business development for Puerto Rico, Caribbean and Central America.
Ford’s strategy to drive vehicle sales also calls for working closely with its dealership network that comprises eight in Puerto Rico and one in the USVI. Short-term plans call for opening a new dealership in Bayamón, a market where Ford had representation at one point, but exited some time ago, Frick said.
“We’re looking at that market, determining where we would open a dealer and whom we would be choosing to run it,” he said, refraining from disclosing potential locations or franchisees. “We have several candidates we’re looking at right now.”
In the past year, Ford has expanded its presence in Ponce, Mayagüez and Arecibo. There are no plans to open a new dealership in the USVI, where Galán said Ford is well represented and already commands about 25 percent of the vehicle market.
During his meeting with the media, Frick also announced the appointment Noelle de la Rosa as regional operations manager for Puerto Rico and USVI, who following a 12-year absence from her birthplace is returning to “continue growing and reinforcing the brand,” she said.
“I joined Ford in 2004 and my dream has always been to return to my island,” she said. “I know this will be a great experience for me.”
Historically speaking, Puerto Rico has been an important market for Ford Motor Company, positioning itself among the top five in terms of volume.
“We have more individual dealerships in Puerto Rico than in any other country, at eight,” Frick said. “In other markets, that number is usually two.”
Meanwhile, Galán said the July Chapter 11 filing by its largest dealer operator, Autos Vega in San Juan, has not affected the day-to-day business relationship.
“This was more a strategic decision, but as far as we’re concerned, it has not affected business and we continue to give them our full support,” Galán told News is my Business on an aside following the roundtable.