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Ford steps up ad campaign

Ford has suffered a signficant sales setback over the past 18 months but the company's new chief, Marin Burela, says it has all the ammunition it needs to hit the target in Australia.

He believes everything from the baby Fiesta to the homegrown Falcon has been undersold and is pushing a new line to revitalise the showroom action.

An upbeat Burela was launching the $20 million Advanced Centre for Automotive Research and Training's environmental wind tunnel, noting the investment highlights the technology and innovation Ford is using to appeal to efficiency conscious consumers.

"This was once a myth and a dream," he says of the XT Falcon's 9.9-litres for 100km fuel consumption.

"There are some mainstream large volume four-cylinders that achieve that economy ... you can actually have a large car and be socially responsible.

"We've also been locked out of certain markets because we didn't have a large car with sub-240g/km emissions.

"Governments wouldn't even put us on their shopping lists.

"This Falcon now achieves emissions of 238g/km.

"I'll be knocking on the door of those governments (departments) and fleets."

"For those who choose not to drive a large car, then the Fiesta actually provides better fuel economy than the (Toyota) Prius and at $15,000 less."

Behind the positive spin is a simple fact — Ford's marketing hasn't matched its product.

The Falcon was awarded Car of the Year by Carsguide and Wheels last year — and was last month outsold by the Commodore by 1554 cars.

Ford is touting Paul Gover's assessment of the Fiesta as "the best car in class — simple as that" on a 12m billboard next to Melbourne’s Bolte Bridge — yet the best car in the segment is being outsold by the Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Getz.

"All we have to do is get Australian customers to accept the world is at their door," Burela says.

"We'll be advertising in a very focused, very specific way."

"We need to get people to drive the cars and judge for themselves."