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Ford ‘delight’ at Holden superiority claims

Different strokes: Ford Australia president Marin Burela (left) and Holden chairman and managing director Mark Reuss have agreed to disgree on who has the upper hand in engineering.

Ford chief says future product will disprove Holden promise to ‘out-engineer'

11 Aug 2009

FORD Australia president Marin Burela said he was ‘delighted’ to hear claims his company would be out-engineered by Holden.

Mr Burela was responding to the comment made by GM Holden chairman and managing director Mark Reuss at last week’s announcement of new locally produced direct-injection V6 engines.

The announcement came a week after Ford Australia revealed a plan to fit a four-cylinder Ecoboost turbo four-cylinder engine to the Falcon from 2011.

Mr Reuss, having already pointed out that Holden was introducing new technology now and not in two years time, took aim at Ford with his response to a question asking if Holden would consider a four-cylinder engine.

“We are going work on executing high quality today and further fuel efficiency and efficiency on this vehicle,” he said. “We are going to out-engineer the competition, and dropping cylinders would be the last resort because people still like the power, the performance, the towing, all of those things that we get in Australia with this engine and this car.”

27 center imageLeft: Holden's Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) V6 Commodore. Below: Ford's EcoBoost branding.

Last week, Mr Burela volunteered his own response to the verbal jab in a monthly sales media briefing.

“When I hear statements like ‘we will out-engineer our competitors’, all that does is bring a huge level of delight to us because I know what we are working on,” he said.

Mr Burela said the company would continue to improve the efficiency of Ford’s in-line six-cylinder Falcon engine which now has an official fuel consumption rating of 9.9L per 100km when selected with the six-speed automatic transmission that is standard on some models and available for an additional $2000 others.

“If anyone, particularly my colleagues at Holden think that we are done with where we are then they have sadly miscalculated,” he said.

Holden released a document at the announcement of the introduction of its direct-injection V6 engines showing a graph representing the consumption of the Commodore and its rivals.

It showed the 3.0-litre V6 commodore at 9.3L/100km as the most efficient, below a Ford Mondeo with 9.5L/100km, a Toyota Aurion on 9.9L/100km, a Honda CR-V with 10L/100km and the Ford Falcon XT to the far right of the page with 10.5L/100km.

Holden chose to pick the standard XT Falcon with five-speed automatic for comparison rather than with the optional six-speed automatic.

It also decided not to include the Commodore 3.6-litre V6 which uses between 9.9L/100km and 10.3L/100km.

When asked about the Holden graph and whether Ford was worried people would think it had fallen behind with its fuel consumption, Mr Burela said: “It is like all things – perceptions become realities in people’s minds, so it is our job to ensure that our product actions and our communications are clear and people understand the choices which they have.

“There are many different ways for us to go out there and demonstrate and improve our fuel economy and we are working on a range of other initiatives. I feel very confident that what we are doing will be understood.”

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