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FPV LWB LBW

Long shot: Ford's performance arm will stick to the short-wheelbase Falcon derivatives for now.

No hot-rod Fairlane in the works as FPV looks for vibrant new models

Ford logo25 May 2005

By NEIL MCDONALD

DON’T expect to see the resurrection of a high-performance Fairlane in the Ford Performance Vehicles portfolio.

FPV managing director, David Flint, believes the company has developed a winning formula building high-performance variants of the Falcon sedan and ute, and that in the short-term these vehicles would remain its core products.

In contrast to Holden’s HSV division, which builds and successfully markets long wheelbase cars based on the Statesman, Mr Flint said the exercise for FPV to turn the current Fairlane into a desirable high-performance sedan would be counterproductive to core FPV values.

This is despite building such a vehicle, the TL50, when overseeing Tickford Vehicle Engineering, the forerunner to FPV, in the late 1990s.

"I think you can only make niche cars of the type that we make using vibrant models as the donor car," he said. "If the model or the platform that you choose does not have legs, nor is desirable in its own right, then I think you’re wasting time.

"What you need is a car that’s desirable in itself and then you make that special." Mr Flint admitted he would like to see FPVfettled variants of the European-built Focus small car but at this stage: "We’ve just not found the way of making a business case".

"Simply because it’s just not economical to get a completely built-up car, land it in Australia, then take it to pieces and throw a heap of stuff away and make a performance car," Mr Flint said.

Both the Focus and Fiesta have ST performance versions in Europe, and Ford Australia is looking at the viability of offering these models here. But Ford Australia boss Tom Gorman believes the Focus convertible, the Vignale, could be a better image car for the brand.

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