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Falcon’s RWD future still in limbo

No decision: Ford has yet to commit to any future rear-drive large-car program that would involve the next-generation Falcon.

Ford's global RWD platform – and the future of our next Falcon - remains on hold

21 Nov 2008

By MARTON PETTENDY in LOS ANGELES

FORD Australia may this week have extended the life of its venerable inline six-cylinder engine beyond 2010, but the rear-wheel drive future of its staple Falcon model remains under a cloud.

While the Ford Motor Company presented its all-new Mustang coupe - which resides on an all-new rear-drive platform but still features a live rear axle, albeit coil-sprung - at this week’s LA Auto Show, the Blue Oval jury remains out on whether it will underpin Australia’s next-generation Falcon, due in 2013.

“The Ford global rear-wheel-drive platform program is on hold,” the executive director of communications for Ford of The Americas, Jennifer Flake, told GoAuto in LA.

“We have no decision to announce at this point. The decision is, there is no decision.” Charismatic Ford Motor Company executive vice-president and Ford of The Americas president Mark Fields presented the US version of Ford’s Mondeo in the shape of the all-new Fusion mid-size sedan at LA, but he refused to answer questions on the Falcon’s rear-drive future.

 center imageLeft: The new Mustang and its coil-sprung live-axle rear end.

New Ford Australia president Marin Burela said at last month’s Sydney motor show that the value to Australian consumers of rear-drive continues to be the subject of intensive market research.

Earlier this year, FoMoCo president Alan Mulally said the next-generation Falcon, expected to appear in 2013, could switch to a new front-drive chassis architecture that will reside beneath the Blue Oval’s new Taurus large sedan.

The news came as a backflip on the advice from Derrick Kuzak, Ford's global head of product development, who said in March that the development of a new global rear-wheel drive platform was underway.

Australia was understood to have been earmarked to follow Holden’s footsteps by becoming the centre of global development of a large rear-drive chassis architecture for its parent company, and the new Mustang was expected to be one of the vehicles related to Ford Australia’s next Falcon.

“On rear-wheel-drive ... we are working on a new platform and portfolio of vehicles. We will have more to say in the future,” said Mr Kuzak at the time.

Read more:

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