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Ford pushes ahead on five-star cars

Safety sell: Ford's engineers believe the Falcon Ute will have no trouble getting the top rating once it gets stability control.

Falcon Ute and E-Gas sedan next on Ford's list for five-star crash ratings

18 Aug 2008

FLUSHED with the success of achieving the first five-star crash rating for an Australian-made car with petrol-engined Falcons, Ford Australia is moving to gain the same rating for its E-Gas and Ute models.

While Ford Australia had previously advised that it could not engineer the E-Gas Falcon for electronic stability control – a pre-requisite for achieving a five-star ANCAP rating – company president Bill Osborne revealed last week that it should be ready for market in the first half of 2009.

“We are working on a version of stability control for E-Gas Falcon to make that product more attractive to fleets,” said Mr Osborne. “We hope to launch that in the first half of next year.

“This is also a dramatic step forward for E-Gas because it allows us to get back into some fleets. They are very attracted to our single-fuel E-Gas option but the bid specifications require elements like stability control for safety reasons. For government fleets, it was a big issue.” FG Falcon chief engineer David Wilkinson said that the Ute would have no trouble getting the five-star rating once it gets ESC, which is expected next month.

“Structurally, there are no issues at all,” said Mr Wilkinson. “Even the side barrier engages the strong part of the car. It's a smaller cabin and in some ways it's stiffer than a larger cabin because you've got the back panel going across the car.”

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