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Falcon has a future with us, says Ford

Family resemblence: The next generation Ford Taurus is likely to share the same underpinnings as the next Aussie Falcon.

Ford pledges large car for Australia – but won’t say how much of it will be local

3 Dec 2009

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in LOS ANGELES

THE Ford Motor Co has promised that the Falcon will continue to loom large on the Australian landscape in the foreseeable future but has made no guarantees about long-term manufacturing Down Under nor confirmed if the vehicle will shift to a front-wheel-drive platform.

Global marketing group vice-president Jim Farley told GoAuto at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show this week that the strong reception of the revamped Taurus in the United States, coupled with the FG Falcon’s success in lifting its market share in Australia over the past year, meant Ford was as committed as ever to a strong large-car presence over the next decade.

Asked if Ford was thinking of “canning” the Falcon in Australia Mr Farley replied: “Absolutely not!” Although he would not enter into specifics about Ford Australia’s role in the company’s future large-car strategy, Mr Farley said Ford Motor Co would continue to leverage the know-how and expertise of the Broadmeadows team.

“We will continue to look carefully,” he said.

Ford’s global product manager Derrick Kuzak revealed to GoAuto at the Detroit motor show in January that Ford was close to committing to a shared front-drive/AWD replacement for both the Falcon and Taurus by the middle of the next decade.

 center imageLeft: Falcon range. Below: Ford global group vice president of marketing and communications Jim Farley.

Ford Australia president Marin Burela also confirmed in April that the next Falcon would fall into line with Ford’s Global One resource-sharing program, adding that a decision on whether the next-generation large car will switch to a front-drive platform would be made in 2010.

It is still unclear which engineering and design teams will take the lead role in developing the all-new global D-segment (large) vehicle.

There has been some speculation that the model will be paired with the next-generation Mondeo, although this is unlikely given the current model successfully uses a highly modified variation of the Focus small car’s C1 underpinnings.

Production locations for the all-new large car are also still to be divulged.

“The bottom line is that the market share has increased for the Falcon,” Mr Farley told GoAuto. “There’s still a very vibrant market in Australia – although it’s been declining for many years.

“I do think that all the different manufacturers have to look at all kinds of different technical solutions down the road now for D-segment cars – for a lot of reasons: fuel efficiency, global utilisation of platforms… “But you know, we have nothing new to announce – as I’m sure Marin has told you a million times – but we will continue to look carefully.” Mr Farley said different model demands from various markets clouded the model-selection issue.

“When you get to the D-segment it starts to get a bit cloudy – what does China want, what the US wants, what Australia wants – but we have really have a core competence and expertise in D-cars in Australia,” he said.

“Plus the performance element and the whole reputation around the performance division – there is a really unique niche to fill – and we have obviously want to continue to leverage all of that.

“The D-car is critical for our company. It is critical around the world. We have had a tremendous amount of success with Falcon in Australia, with Taurus here in the US, with the revitalisation of Lincoln too here in the US, and we will continue to make the right decisions for Ford and our customers as we have done before, and we will always look at any new product with the point of view of Global One Ford.

“That’s just the way we do business now.”

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