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Ford Claims Two Category Wins

Ford Claims Two Category Wins And Supreme Honour At Inaugural Aa Motoring Excellence Awards

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 22 March 2005

Ford's two newest passenger vehicle models, Fiesta and Territory, claimed respective segment honours at the inaugural AA Motoring Excellence Awards held in Auckland over the weekend.

But the party didn't stop there – Ford Territory then won the supreme award, to go with the numerous recognition it has received in New Zealand and Australia.

A panel of seven judges scrutinized 81 entries, and tested them over a week long evaluation period at Taupo Race track and in normal driving conditions.

"Ford Territory is without rival in terms of innovation, functionality and usability - this has been recognised by its widespread popularity in the market and now by these awards as well," said an elated Managing Director of Ford New Zealand, Richard Matheson.

"Territory has enjoyed the kudos of being Sport Utility Vehicle market leader for each of the eight months since launch, and qualities which have placed it in this position had obvious appeal to the judges."

Territory features off road capability, can transport as many as seven people and perhaps most remarkably it drives with the surefootedness of a sedan.

"Ford Australia has created a vehicle that rivals the original Falcon in terms of motoring significance," added Mr. Matheson.

The AA Motoring Excellence Award judges were universal in their praise of Ford Territory.

Rob Maetzig said "The Ford Territory demonstrates that the Australian motor industry has really matured, to the extent that a vehicle like this, developed in Australia, has beaten the best in the world. It really is a very good car."

Group N rally driver Emma Gilmour recognised the attributes that the Ford Australia team had set out to create when they first started designing Territory.

"It is a great, versatile vehicle but what impressed me was how it handled; when you put a lifestyle vehicle on the track, you don't expect to be impressed."

Judge Brian Cowan perhaps summed up his impressions best, when he acknowledged the hard work, dedication and restraints that the original Territory development team had worked within.

"I'm over the moon that it won because it proves that a company dedicated to mass manufacture and a populist approach can still dare to step above the expectations of its buyers, as Ford has done with Territory. (Past Ford Australia President) Geoff Polites gave his small team the freedom to choose to dream, and they did, without going outside their tight budgetary constraints."

The AA Motoring Excellence trophies will be on display along with other awards that Ford has won at the Motor Company's head office in Manukau.

ENDS

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