Ford brand chief defects to Toyota

The Ford brand manager responsible for the two best-selling cars in the UK has quit to join rival Toyota.

Paul Philpott resigned as Ford’s brand manager for small cars, including the best-selling Fiesta and Escort, as well as the Ka marque, on Monday. Ford’s market share in the period from January is 18.35 per cent, two per cent lower than in the equivalent period last year.

Philpott joins Toyota as general manager vehicle marketing and will report to marketing director Mike Moran, who was also previously at Ford. He will be responsible for developing product strategy.

At the moment, Toyota has 15 different models in its range, but it is changing emphasis so that by the year 2000 just three models, the Starlet, Corolla and Carina, will account for 85 per cent of its UK sales. The new direction follows what has been described as a “shuffling of responsibilities” within the Toyota marketing department.

“The nature of the company, its volume sales and who it is selling to – the fleet market – are changing,” says a Toyota spokesman. “We are moving from being a niche manufacturer to a volume player.”

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