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Territory nameplate may live on

Exploring new Territory: The E8 platform-based vehicle on sale since 2004 may not be the last to carry the famous nameplate

Ford weighs up what to do with the Territory badge post-2016

Ford logo14 Aug 2013

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

FORD is still deliberating over the future of the Territory nameplate.

While the Falcon-based SUV has one more facelift left before the current-generation dies in late 2016, there’s some chance the nameplate will be applied for our market to the global soft-roader poised to replace it.

Ford has not yet announced which seven-seater crossover SUV that will be, but the second-generation US-market Ford Edge due next year, or the still-secret Mk4 Explorer, are shaping up as the most likely candidates.

Speaking to GoAuto at Ford’s future model exposition in Sydney this week, recently installed Blue Oval Asia/Pacific boss David Schoch would not be drawn into confirming his company’s intentions with the future SUV, but did admit that there is much currency still left in keeping the Territory nameplate.

He also categorically ruled out that the Everest – the Australian designed and engineered seven-seater off-road SUV that made its world premiere in Sydney ahead of its circa-2015 debut – would step in for Territory, saying that the two vehicles appeal to very different customers.

Expect Ford to instead sell both the rugged Everest – still understood to be markedly more refined than its Ranger ute sibling – and the next-generation, car-based SUV concurrently.

“Territory has very good name brand recognition,” Mr Schoch said. “And we’ll look at what that means exactly as we head forward.”“But certainly when you think about the Everest Concept that we showed today, it will catch a different segment – and very clearly so. It’s a very different concept that we’re after compared to Territory. The Everest will be more rugged and more off-road-ish.” Interestingly, in the line-up of future cars, SUVs, and commercial vehicles presented to over 800 media, dealers, customers, guests – as well as the three most senior Ford personnel globally (president and CEO Alan Mulally, chief operating officer Mark Fields, and group vice president for sales, marketing and service, James Farley) – in Australia this week, the existing SZ Territory was included, but the Falcon was not.

Later next year the Series II SZ – the final of the E8 platform Falcon-derived Territories – will bring a revised nose treatment (most probably limited to bumpers and grille changes) and a mildly titivated interior featuring different trims and fabrics.

Back in May, Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano announced that the Falcon nameplate is far too connected with Australian vehicle manufacturing to live on in an imported vehicle, and would therefore die alongside the plant that makes it in October 2016.

Ford will still not confirm whether it will actually replace the Falcon in Australia at all. The car most likely to succeed it is either the all-new fourth-generation Taurus expected in 2016, or the upcoming Mondeo IV also previewed at the future-model event in Sydney.

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