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FPV axes F6X as new Territory engines stall
Ford Performance Vehicles kills off F6X super-SUV as facelifted Territory emerges
27 Feb 2009
FORD Performance Vehicles (FPV) axed its slow-selling F6X hyper-wagon today - the same day the Blue Oval revealed a facelifted version of the Territory on which it is based - after just 12 months on sale.
A memo was sent out to FPV dealers this afternoon confirming the demise of the turbocharged all-wheel-drive wagon, the go-fast Ford performance brand’s first SUV.
GoAuto revealed earlier this month that the F6X might be dropped from the line-up because FPV is not prepared to make the investment needed to alter the car in line with a 2009 Territory upgrade, which was revealed this morning at the Melbourne International Motor Show and goes on sale in the second quarter of this year.
FPV general manager Rod Barrett told GoAuto that slow sales meant the F6X had to go.
“You have got to listen to the market and we have done that,” he said.
FPV has sold 178 of the high performance models since its launch at the end of February last year and still has around 40 left in dealer stock around the country.
Mr Barrett, who drives and F6X company car, said there was no doubt the F6X met the performance expectations of customers.
“There is nothing wrong with the car,” he said. “It is a great car, (but) the market has told us it was the right car for the wrong time.” But he added they weren’t the only reasons for the F6X’s demise.
“The thing that has led to the decision we have made is that it was never aesthetically different enough from the mother car and probably had a pricetag that didn’t suit the market when it was launched,” he said.
Apart from the investment requited to upgrade the exterior of the F6X in line with the facelifted Territory, FPV also faced a problem with the engine.
The F6X runs a turbocharged in-line six-cylinder, delivering 270kW and 550Nm, that is largely based on the unit that powered the previous-generation FPV F6.
That engine was replaced by a greatly improved 310kW/565Nm turbo six for FPV’s FG Falcon-based F6 model, launched in May 2008, and now priced at $66,590.
In fact, given Ford’s own considerably cheaper ($46,590) FG Falcon XR6 Turbo now runs a 270kW and 533Nm engine, the FPV F6X engine’s performance wasn’t far in front just three months after it was released.
Faced with the option of continuing to build an older engine for one slow-selling model or make the considerable investment required to upgrade the F6X with the new F6 engine, FPV decided the numbers just didn’t stack up for its first foray into the SUV market.
“It is a niche model in a niche brand,” Mr Barrett said.
Top to bottom: F6X 270 badge SY Territory MkII TX AWD Territory TS AWD Territory Ghia Turbo F6X engine. Ford today also announced that its own entry-level Territory Turbo model would also be discontinued, although the more popular Ghia Turbo flagship will continue – at $66,420 (up $500), with a number of updates as part of the 2009 Territory range.
They include indicators integrated into the side mirrors, side steps and rear/side privacy glass, but the Territory Turbo Ghia will continue to be powered by a 245kW/480Nm 4.0-litre turbo six similar to the one that powered the previous-generation BF Falcon XR6T.
Similarly, Ford’s revised Territory range features new exterior styling tweaks, revised interior seat trims and extra safety equipment for entry-level versions, but it will continue with a 190kW/383Nm inline six rather than introduce the FG Falcon’s newer and more efficient 195kW/391Nm version.
Ford today confirmed the much-anticipated engine upgrade for the Territory - sales of which dived 25 per cent last year, when it was toppled by Toyota’s Prado and Kluger after three year’s as Australia’s top-selling SUV – is yet to come.
That upgrade will occur as part of a Territory powertrain overhaul next year, when Ford has signalled it will also offer the only Australian-made SUV with diesel power.
“This update will go out and show people that we still love the car, we still love the Territory brand,” said Ford Australia president Marin Burela today.
“It will give consumers a whole lot more in terms of features and content and there will be standard equipment that wasn’t there before.
“In addition to that I think the minor external freshening signals that we haven’t finished. We are continuing the journey on Territory and it is alive and well and will continue to be so.” For now the Territory gets a new bonnet, front bumper, grille and headlights that combine to create a more ‘kinetic’ design like that of the Mondeo and new Falcon, along with body-coloured door-handles and side mirrors, plus redesigned tail-lights.
Bringing in on par with its more direct rival in the Kluger, the base Territory TX rear-wheel-drive now gets side curtain airbags, and while TXs also receive 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, other Territory variants will offer new-design alloys. The TX also gains cruise control as standard. All Territorys get new seat trims and dashboard highlights.
The mid-range Territory TS now features foglights, a reverse parking camera and leather-wrapped steering wheel, while the TS and Ghia get new interior colours and a third-row seat as standard, and Ghia models score an Alpine rear DVD system and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The SY-series Territory MkII upgrade will come with price rises of at least $500 across the board.
The TX rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models are up $1000, giving the Territory a new starting price of $39,490 for the TX RWD with four-speed auto, while the six-speed auto-equipped Territory range continues to start $5000 higher, at $44,490.
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