Falcon could go, Ford boss warns

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Falcon could go, Ford boss warns Empty Falcon could go, Ford boss warns

Post by R31Heaven on Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:34 am

Falcon could go, Ford boss warns

The future of the all-Australian Ford Falcon is in doubt after the company's chief outlined the carmaker's plans on the eve of the Detroit motor show.

Ford chief executive Alan Mulally announced that only one large car platform would be built for all world markets under the company's One Ford program.

"The best thing for Ford is to bring our scale and volume [to the market]," Mr Mulally said.

"[Car-makers] who make one vehicle, a different vehicle for one country, I think those days are gone, because you can't compete with the global companies, and Ford's going to be a powerhouse globally."

Ford Australia president Marin Burela says Ford Australia will still be a very important part of the global motor company despite the plans to put an end to the Falcon, which marks 50 years on Australian roads this year.

"Three months ago I discussed the future directions of the Falcon in Australia with [Ford chief] Alan Mulally, and there is no doubt the Ford company is now considering its future operations of the replacement vehicle of the Falcon - a decision not required for 12 to 18 months," he told ABC NewsRadio.

"And there is opportunity there for the Australian Government and the Australian motor industry to work with the global leadership of Ford about the future directions of the model replacement for Falcon.

"And I'm absolutely confident that the Australian auto industry, having gone through the worst crisis in three generations and remaining pretty much intact, will continue to play a vital part in Australia's future."

Falcon replacement

The likely successor for an Australian designed and engineered Falcon is a car based on the American Ford Taurus, which unlike the Falcon is a front-wheel drive car.

The Taurus was imported to Australia in the late 1990s with little success.

Mr Mulally would not say if Ford Australia would play a leading role in developing the large car platform, or whether a local version of the global car would be built in Australia.

The Ford Falcon was introduced to Australia in 1960.

The car has been the mainstay of Ford's Australian manufacturing operations.

Ford Australia employs about 4,700 people at its Victorian plants, 2,300 of whom were factory floor workers and 2,400 in areas such as engineering, administration, marketing and product design.

Panels and engines for the Falcon and its Territory wagon variant produced at Geelong, with assembly housed at Campbellfield, in Melbourne's north.

Falcon was the fifth-highest selling car in Australia in 2009, with 31,023 sales compared with 44,387 sales for the top-selling Holden Commodore.

Flagging sales because of higher fuel prices have hurt the Falcon and the Australian large car sector in recent years.


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