Way back in 2002, Ford had fallen to the 12th ranked passenger car brand in the RSA. Since then, it gradually clawed its way up to 3rd by 2014, where it has stayed since. The market share in '02 was 2.2% and by 2016, was 11%. So what has Ford been doing right?
It sources models that are sold in mature markets as well as for emerging ones. The RSA is an mixture of such customers so Ford has something for all. Of course other car companies do the same but not to the level that Ford does.
It has started assembly of the Everest large SUV, previously imported from Thailand. It joins its sibling Ranger pick-up as a second locally sourced vehicle and that should help that model's sales grow. So let's look at what it sells there, the top 3 ranked by 2016 sales:
Fiesta: A model well known globally, it sells well here too. I'm not sure where it is sourced from but probably Thailand.
EcoSport: A small SUV that comes from India and is mainly aimed at emerging markets. It has found many customers in a short period of time.
Figo: It was an older model Fiesta but from 2015 based on the mini sized Ka and comes from India as well.
So it becomes clear that having the right models is critical for success. Ford has used it's Indian market especially to make the most of that. Moving in on the top two passenger car brands - VW and Toyota - will be tough as they are well ahead and well established. Ford has done well to get this far and future gains will be a big ask. Still, the point of the article is that Ford has done really well in getting to where it is now. It has been a success story.
Below are sales from 2012 to 2016 by model.
Data source: Naamsa.