Future Models - Ford Falcon
First look: BA Falcon XR and Ute
Raising the BAr: wild new XR and Ute reveal new faces.
Blue Oval reveals radical new 2003 BA Falcon XR sedan and a wild Falcon Ute
1 August 2002
YOU'RE looking at the 2003 BA Falcon XR and the new BA Falcon Ute.
That's right, as part of Ford's controlled release of information about its heavily facelifted BA Falcon range, the Blue Oval has revealed the first official pictures of both its new Falcon Ute and wildly different XR performance sedan - more than two months before they go on sale.
The move follows the official reveal of the mainstream BA Falcon sedan earlier this month and it's believed more information relating to the BA Falcon's safety, interior and engine technology will be released prior to its October on-sale date.
"Earlier this month we signalled the beginning of a new era in Australian motoring with the BA," said Ford Australia president Geoff Polites.
"Today's release of the XR range is further proof of the exciting times ahead," continued the press release titled "Falcon XR - Game On" in a backhander to Holden, whose Monaro advertising slogan is "Game Over".
Featuring twin staggered headlights behind a large single lens, the BA XR does away with the individual quad-lamp front-end design that has been an XR front-end trademark for almost a decade.
Instead, the 2003 XR will employ BMW-style twin bumper scallops below each headlight assembly, as previwed by Craig Lowndes' Falcon V8 Supercar.
The XR pictures released also showed a deeply sculpted front bumper with extra-large foglights either side of a massive air-dam opening that follows the shape of the new grille.
There is also a huge, oval-shaped chrome tailpipe that proudly exits on the right-hand side, plus a large, single-deck rear spoiler, big new five-spoke alloys and subtly scalloped side skirts.
"The XR nameplate has a proud history in Australia and a significant place in the Falcon line-up," said lead XR designer Nicolas Hogios, who joined Ford in 1999 after winning Wheels magazine's Young Designer of the Year award.
"With BA came the chance to further enhance the strengths of XR while evolving it in a more modern, contemporary context. The XR was designed in a more wholistic way, a complete package rather than just a face," he said.
"The headlight design has evolved to become a more sophisticated iteration of the powerful XR quad-light signature.
"The surface language is heavily sculpted to create drama and purpose. This ensures that the light is picked up in relevant areas to create interest and movement. This is a performance car and it should be dramatic," said 28-year-old Mr Hogios of the BA XR, his first exterior design project.
Meanwhile, first pictures of the BA Ute were released today, two days after the BA XR, with Mr Polites confirming the new utility would be released immediately after the BA sedan range.
"The utility is one of Ford Australia's - indeed one of motoring's - great success stories," he said.
"We built the first utility here in Australia nack in 1934 - with Lew Brandt's fully restored ute taking pride of place in the Ford Discovery Centre. Today, the BA Falcon Ute adds to that rich history.
"It's traditional for the Falcon Ute to follow a few months after the sedan. However, the outstanding success of the current ute - which has dominated local markets for the past two years - confirmed our belief that our thousands of loyal customers wanted the latest and greatest now," said Mr Polites.
Styled along similar lines to the BA sedan, the ute revealed in the first pictures did not employ foglights but featured a hard tonneau cover, alloy wheels, side skirts and black headlight backgrounds similar to those of the recently revealed Fairmont Ghia.
"It's a fantastic looking product that builds on the existing Falcon Ute strengths of supercab and cab-chassis design, and class-leading carrying and towing capacity," said Ford light truck marketing manager Kevin Lillie.
"In addition, the depth of change that has gone into the BA sedan has moved along the Ford family tree to the ute.
"New interiors, new colours and a host of engineering changes soon to be announced will continue to keep the Falcon Ute atop the sales charts.
"The BA styling shows the continued progression of the Falcon Ute as a fantastic vehcile that's just as comfortable in the city as it is on the backblocks," said Mr Lille.
The early October launch of BA sedan and ute models will precede the release of the BA wagon, long-wheelbase Fairlane/LTD and T-Series ranges, ther latter likely to be dubbed T4.