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Ford rules out revived Territory nameplate

Edge of a decision: Ford will decide soon if the new North American-sourced SUV (below) will take the the global Edge name, but it won’t be resurrecting the Territory (left) name.

New name for Edge on the cards if Ford cannot win name off Toyota

Ford logo29 Nov 2016

By DANIEL DeGASPERI

FORD Australia president and CEO Graeme Whickman has finally ruled out reviving the Territory nameplate, referring to “criticism” surrounding Holden’s retention of the Commodore badge as a reason to be “careful” with reusing Australian-made nameplates on imported vehicles.

While the company’s preference is to use the global Edge nameplate for its new Canadian-built five-seat large SUV confirmed for local sale in 2018, in the event that Toyota Australia does not relinquish the naming rights it currently holds on ‘Edge’– and Mr Whickman confirmed talks are ongoing – Ford Australia executives have previously said that Territory could be a second choice.

It now seems that prospect is dead, however, with Mr Whickman reiterating Ford’s point of difference with rival Holden in the handling of its nameplates.

“I think Territory is a vehicle that was close to Australian’s hearts and you have to treat that along with the Falcon in a way that … is respectful,” Mr Whickman told GoAuto at the national media launch of the Everest 4x2 in Melbourne this week.

He added that there was great importance in “retiring those nameplates in a respectful way” and when directly asked if Territory was still a candidate should Ford not be permitted to use Edge locally, Mr Whickman replied: “My view is that if I had to choose then I might be looking for a new name.

“There has been some criticism of GM and the way they are handling their nomenclature, so we’ve got to be careful because we don’t want to be disingenuous about what a vehicle is there to do,” he continued.

“It’s very difficult to be drawn on another competitor’s approach, out of respect for how they want to go about their business. At the end of the day whether it was the right thing or wrong thing will be up to customer response.

You can look at how customers are responding now and how they will respond into the future and that will be the best dipstick as to whether it’s the right or wrong thing to do.

“I watch with interest – and (that is) my comment around Commodore – as to how they’re going about it, and I probably would take a different tact.”

Mr Whickman said that regardless of Holden’s decision, there was evidence that Ford’s handling of the Falcon nameplate’s retirement was the right call and one respected by fans of the quintessentially Australian vehicle.

“We wanted to retire a nameplate with some dignity,” he said.

“The vehicle had been around for decades and decades and for us the Falcon meant that we had a legacy we could build on and we wanted to take that legacy to other vehicles … through the research and development the local team do.

“Ford customers – in respect to Ford customers and that’s why we did (celebration) events for Falcon – are very passionate about the vehicle and the name. So I think they would have been unhappy if we ever put that name on a vehicle that didn’t live up to the legacy or the history that that vehicle had.

“The Mondeo … isn’t necessarily there to replace the Falcon.”

Without up to seven seats as per the Territory, some parallels could exist with the five-seat North American-market Edge, however Mr Whickman confirmed that Toyota Australia have not yet decided to let go of the nameplate locally.

“Toyota have got their business to run and they run a good business, they’ll look at all the options and I’m sure they’ll make a business decision,” he said.

“We’re still working through it … it’s a while away yet because obviously the vehicle is a while away yet.”

Asked whether Edge or another nameplate was the frontrunner for the vehicle due to arrive in Australia in early 2018, Mr Whickman replied: “I’d be struggling to put a call on it, they (Toyota) are working through their process”.

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