New models - Ford - Falcon
New Falcon: Price rise rethink
A stronger body, bigger brakes, revised measurements and a pared back range are all part of the BA Falcon story
18 Sep 2002
FORD will gird its loins and raise the price of its vastly uprated $500 million BA Falcon despite Holden's decision to hold the line on the new VY Commodore's pricing.
Ford Australia president Geoff Polites confirmed the rise to GoAuto late yesterday, but also said it should not go as high as three per cent, a figure he had forecast in August.
The new pricing will be communicated to dealers and the media today, with a Thursday media embargo.
The BA goes on sale in October, just weeks after the VY appears in showrooms late in September.
"We were anticipating a 1.5 point price rise (for VY Commodore), so no rise did surprise us a little," Mr Polites said.
"We thought they would put in passenger airbags and front power windows - but they didn't put in as much content as we thought they would,"But it's not the end of the world. We are still going to go ahead and price, we are not going to be zero. We probably won't be as high as we were originally forecasting because it is a competitive game and you have to stay relevant.
"The rise will vary model by model, but the headline number will be less than that (three per cent)."The enormous cost of what traditionally would be a midlife update is a key reason for the expected BA price rise. The sales failure of the AU series over the past four years also means Ford has not got the financial comfort zone of Holden when it comes to pricing.
While much of the BA technical, equipment and styling package has already been revealed during an extended media launch of the car, more upgrades and improvements will be announced at this week's media launch.
It is expected Ford will reveal the BA's body is vastly stronger than its predecessor as well as much safer, almost certainly boosting the car from a three-star NCAP rating to four stars.
Brake improvements will also be detailed, with the standard disc size boosted from 287mm all round to discs which measure 297mm on the front and 303mm at the rear. They will also increase in width.
Local braking expert PBR has also supplied bigger, twin-piston aluminium front callipers, new formulation friction material, larger pads and a new higher capacity vacuum booster and master cylinder assembly - all with the aim of better pedal feel, longer pad life and improved stopping distances.
Ford has also taken the opportunity with BA to doctor the range. The Fairmont station wagon has disappeared with BA, leaving the newly renamed base model XT and Futura as the only Falcons with the choice of the wagon bodystyle. That has handed the luxury wagon market to Holden, which still offers a Comm-odore Berlina V6 and V8 wagon.
The option of dual fuel has also been deleted, leaving those wanting LPG power with the choice of the full-time E-Gas inline six-cylinder engine only.
Unlike Holden, which has deleted V8 power from the base model Executive and added the SV8 model, Ford will offer the new 220kW Barra 220 5.4-litre V8 with the XT, packaged with sports suspension and a limited slip differential.
But by the time you have upgraded your XT to V8 power, it is likely to cost close to the SV8's $40,490 asking price anyway.
Mechanical specifications for BA obtained by GoAuto reveal a car which is substantially heavier in base model form, much of that due to the fitment of the new Cross Blade IRS across the range and more sound deadening material.
Despite that weight gain and significant engine power boosts, Ford is claiming broadly equivalent fuel consumption with the old engines.
In measurement terms compared to AUIII, the BA sedan offers:
MEASURE FOR MEASURE - BA v AUIII
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