Kuga sales down but Ford stays strong in SA car market

Ford Kuga sales have tanked but the iconic US brand has held its market share on other models.

According to figures published by Naamsa (the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA) and Transunion Auto Information Solutions Kuga sales have fallen off a cliff since December when The Times broke the story of the 1.6 model catching fire — from an average of 200 new Kugas sold per month before the fiery revelations to just 36 last month.

But the manufacturer has barely lost market share in the wake of the Kuga PR disaster as Ford remains the third biggest in SA in both new and used car sales.

 In the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2016‚ a period largely unaffected by the Kuga crisis — Ford had 11.7% of the new car market‚ and by the end of the first quarter (Q1) of 2017‚ that was only slighter lower at 10‚3%.

 Ford Kuga sales have tanked but the iconic US brand has held its market share on other models. Fiestas and Ecosport are Ford’s top sellers. Fiestas account for 35% in Q4 and 37% in Q1‚ according to Naamsa

And in the used car sales market‚ Ford’s market share actually jumped from 7‚4% in Q4 of 2016 to 10‚1% in Q1 of this year‚ with the manufacturer remaining in third position behind VW and Toyota.

 That emerged in the Vehicle Pricing Index (VPI) released by Transunion Auto Information Solutions on Thursday. It’s important to note that Transunion’s data relates only to financed vehicles‚ which account for about 45% of all vehicle sales in SA.

The sales figures are contrary to many observers’ prediction that fiery Kuga revelations and Ford SA’s initially dismal handling of the crisis would severely damage the brand as a whole.

But the Kuga catastrophe is dramatically reflected in sales figures of new Kugas. Ford was selling an average of 200 Kugas a month until December‚ but in January just 70 new Kugas were sold‚ in February only 57 and last month that number was down to just 36‚ according to Naamsa (the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA).

That’s despite the fact that the Kuga model which was the subject of Ford’s recall in mid January — the 1.6 petrol — is no longer on sale‚ having been replaced by the 1.5 model.

Transunion’s VPI report examines the link between the year-on-year increase in vehicle pricing for new and used vehicles‚ drawing data from a basket of passenger vehicles incorporated from the top 15 volume manufacturers.

It’s those prices which the industry relies on to determine the trade-in and retail prices of used cars.

“Our data indicates that Ford has survived the Kuga crisis‚ said Derick de Vries‚ CEO of Transunion’s Auto Information Solutions today.

 And while new Kuga sales have been catastrophically affected‚ Kuga trade-in values have not‚ de Vries said. “There has not been much of a change‚ probably due to the trade-in assistance which Ford SA offered via the dealers.”