SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, March 18, 1999 – Ford’s nine Puerto Rico dealerships today were recognized by the company for their key role in 1998 in giving Ford a commanding lead in the commonwealth’s truck market for the fourth consecutive year. The truck leadership awards were presented to the dealerships’ general managers by Michael I. Auld, executive director and general manager of Ford Worldwide Direct Market Operations – who traveled from Detroit, Michigan, to San Juan for the occasion – during a reception hosted by Richard Matheson, Ford Caribbean district manager.
“Ford holds three of the five top selling truck positions in Puerto Rico with Explorer, Ranger and F-Series,” said Auld. “Our trucks are the best, but without the outstanding efforts of our dealers we could not have enjoyed the success we’ve had.”
Overall Ford truck sales in 1998 totaled 12,761 units, up 18 percent. This represented 3,700 units more than its nearest competitor, while giving Ford a 26 percent share of the island’s total truck market.
“When it comes to building tough trucks, no one builds them like Ford,” said Matheson. “Seven out of every ten standard pick-up trucks bought on the island are Ford F-Series and seven out of every ten full-size vans are Ford E-Series.”
And he added: “The average consumer is discovering what the working person in Puerto Rico has known for years – if you need a dependable, tough, well equipped vehicle at a competitive price … buy a Ford.”
Matheson is confident that Ford’s truck customer base in Puerto Rico will increase again in 1999 with improvements in the entire Ford truck line-up. The Ford Windstar minivan and the Ford Explorer sport utility have been the object of special attention. In 1999, Windstar – now with four doors – continues to be the safest minivan in the market, having achieved a U.S. Government-certified 5-star crash rating. So far this year, Windstar is the best selling minivan in Puerto Rico.
Last year in Puerto Rico, the sport utility segment grew 23 percent, making it the fastest growing segment on the island. “After hurricane Georges a lot of people realized they needed more than just a car to handle the varied conditions here in Puerto Rico,” said Matheson. For 1999 Ford introduced the Explorer XLS with all the standard equipment of last year’s XL, plus running bars, fog lamps, CD and more – while keeping the price unchanged.
“Our strategy for Explorer this year is simple,” added Matheson. “We plan to meet the needs of the consumer better than our competition by providing an exceptionally well equipped vehicle at an incredibly competitive price. In addition, the Explorer XLS you see in our advertising is the vehicle you can go and buy at your local Ford dealership. We do not advertise ‘starting from’ prices for vehicles that are not available from dealer stock. We believe in providing value – the vehicle people want, the features they desire, at a price they can afford,” concluded Matheson.
Ford also set a new record in 1998 in overall vehicle sales results, by delivering a total of 18,082 cars and trucks to Puerto Rican buyers – an increase of 12.5 percent compared to the year before. Ford is off to a strong start in 1999, with car and truck sales up by a stunning 40 percent through the end of February.
Ford has eight full-line dealerships and one truck-only dealership on the island. New and expanded service facilities are being added this year at Autos Vega, Bayamon Ford, Caguas Expressway and Ford del Norte. In addition, beginning in June, a brand new
state-of-the-art Caribe Ford facility will be in construction in Rio Piedras.
“Our dealers are committed to being the number one service provider in Puerto Rico, with a passion for customer satisfaction,” said Matheson. “The Ford team here already is the strongest of any manufacturer, and we are moving forward in all aspects of customer satisfaction to become even better.”
The Ford dealerships in Puerto Rico include: Autos Vega, Bayamon Ford, Caguas Expressway, Caribe Ford, Guayama Ford, Ford del Norte, Ford del Oeste, Senorial Ford and Centrocamiones.