Automaker Ford reported an increase in sales of 39 percent during the first quarter of 2011 in Puerto Rico, ranking second behind Toyota Puerto Rico, with 2,329 new units sold during the three-month period, Waldo Galán, general director of Ford International Business Development for Puerto Rico said Thursday.
The number of vehicles sold during the quarter represents an increase of 654 units versus what the automaker sold during the same period last year. The company’s market share is currently 10.8 percent, he said.
Company-wide, Ford reported $2.6 billion in net income for the quarter.
“That just represents the liquidity we have, which we’re going to continue improving,” Galán said, during a meeting with members of the media Thursday. “People know who Ford is: a company that will stay with them over the years.”
The Ford Fiesta is one of the vehicles responsible for the surge in sales, he said.
“We’ve done very well with the Fiesta in Puerto Rico, for several reasons. It is the first time we showed Ford’s new face to the island,” he said.
Other models, the Edge, Explorer and Focus are also representative of what Ford is doing with the “DNA of its vehicles,” he said, referring to the design changes introduced in the vehicles.
“There has been a radical change in the consumer and what their inerests are. They are technologically advanced in comparison to customers we had in the not-so-recent past. They’re also more active,” Galán said.
The company has not yet made the mark it is looking to make with the younger generation, but Galán said Ford is looking more at the customer’s attitude, which seeks sleeker, better performing vehicles.
Galán attributed the company’s local growth to the addition of new dealers, including two new locations in Ponce and Mayagüez. The newcomers joined dealers already operating in Caguas, Vega Alta, San Juan, Carolina, Fajardo and Arecibo.
“We’re in the key places and this consolidation in our distribution chain not only gives us the capacity to sell more efficiently, but gives consumers a certain confidence that comes from having a dealer close by,” Galán added.
He said the company has yet to break into the Bayamón region, which has not had a Ford dealer for the last five years. This year, Ford’s network of independent dealers is expected to invest about $6 million to upgrade their facilities, Galán noted.
During the roundtable, Galán said the impact of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year has not been felt so strongly at Ford, but it has still affected.
“This was a hit to an industry that in general had been downsizing due to the economic conditions. It probably won’t be until December when things will get back to normal,” he said, noting that issues like a lack of tires forces the company to be more strategic about the production levels at its plants worldwide.
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