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Ford’s final Falcon delayed

CGI bird of prey: Ford’s ‘Event’ Falcon is a computer-generated likeness of the MY15 production vehicle.

Last big Aussie Ford Falcon now due in late 2014

Ford logo13 Aug 2013

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

FORD says its final Falcon, a facelifted version of the current model, is still go, but another delay looks set to take its local launch date out to late 2014.

The final version was briefly previewed at this week’s ‘Go Further’ event in Sydney on a giant screen, alongside real-life versions of other future models such as the locally-developed Ford Everest SUV.

According to the company’s global chief operating officer Mark Fields – in Australia for the event alongside global president and CEO Alan Mulally – Ford is determined to see the Falcon through to its previously announced demise when its Victorian factories close in October 2016, despite the delay.

This comes even though current market conditions have seen recent sales flounder to even lower depths, last month trickling under the 600 monthly unit mark.

“Right now we’re going forward to the (upcoming) freshening with the next vehicle,” said Mr Fields. “We have a plan right now to continue to through to 2016, and we continue to monitor the business environment. That is our plan.

“We were already well into the development of the new model, and we are going to follow through with that. And even with the introduction next year of the freshened Falcon, at the same time, we will use the opportunity of events like the one today to introduce the new product lines.”

Making its clearest-yet appearance in two-dimensional computer-generated guise, the rendering emphasised the Ford corporate grille and swept-back headlight detailing that has become the Blue Oval’s styling trademark.

They are likely to be the biggest visual changes that the now-MY15 model-year Falcon will receive, meaning it will be limited to a substantial top and tail makeover rather than a complete sheet-metal redesign.

At around the same time later next year, a mild refresh of the Territory will also surface. Expected to be known as the SZ Series II, it will most likely usher in re-profiled bumpers, a new grille and other non-metalwork changes.

This is because the existing SZ Territory underwent a significant revamp in early 2011, while the FG Falcon is essentially the same vehicle that Bill Osborne introduced to the Australian media in early 2008.

According to one Ford insider, the next Falcon’s exterior changes will be “about on a par” with what the VF Commodore is compared to its VE predecessor.

The basic dashboard architecture will likely remain, albeit with completely different instruments, some switchgear changes, and altered colours and trim.

Other items, such as the seats and door cards, will probably remain much the same as today’s FG Series II.

However, the 2015 Falcon will also adopt some of the Ford SYNC voice-control systems, though the age of the E8 architecture precludes the wholesale switch to the full-fat version as seen in next month’s Fiesta ST.

As part of Ford’s $43 million state and federal government payment, there will be minor efficiency enhancements for the continuing 4.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol and EcoLPi LPG engines, as well as the imported 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder EcoBoost unit.

However, with ongoing speculation about the future of Ford Performance Vehicles beyond the FG Series II, it is unclear whether the V8 engine will make a comeback in the Falcon.

Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano refused to comment on the future of FPV, or the fate of the V8 in Falcon.

“I’m not here to talk about FPV,” he told the Australian media.

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