WAIT­ING GAME FOR FORD

Fam­ily SUV fans are fac­ing frus­tra­tion over long de­lays, JOSHUA DOWL­ING writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

FORD will not have a di­rect re­place­ment for the lo­cally made Fal­con and Ter­ri­tory SUV when pro­duc­tion at Broad­mead­ows ends in Oc­to­ber, leav­ing large gap its show­rooms.

The home­grown has been a fam­ily favourite for the past 12 years, while Fal­con sedan will be re­placed by the smaller Mon­deo, a car that com­petes with Toy­ota Camry.

Ford’s next-gen­er­a­tion SUV, Edge, won’t ar­rive in Aus­tralian show­rooms un­til 2018. Even then it

be avail­able as fam­ily sev­enseater, the vari­ant that has ac­counted for ma­jor­ity of Ter­ri­tory sales.

The Ford Ex­plorer seven-seater, one com­pany’s top sell­ers in the US, has not been de­signed for right­hand drive.

fans who want a seven-seat SUV will be obliged to step up to the heavy-duty Ever­est, which is based on a rugged ute rather than a car-like un­der­body.

The move is at odds with rest of the au­to­mo­tive world. Over past decade buy­ers have shunned heavy­duty 4WDs, shift­ing to SUVs that look like an off-roader but are in fact based on a car de­sign.

But Ford will not a car-de­rived, full-size SUV for at least year af­ter the last Ter­ri­tory is sold.

“For us that was the best time, the most op­por­tune time to pro­cure ve­hi­cle and launch (Edge) into mar­ket,” Ford Aus­tralia boss Graeme Whick­man says. “We are a part of a big global en­tity

there­fore there lot chal­lenges in terms where we source ve­hi­cles from. With all that con­sid­ered, this was the best time for us to launch

prod­uct, about year or so (af­ter Ter­ri­tory is sold out).”

The de­lay may frus­trate in­tend­ing fam­ily buy­ers. Edge is al­ready made in right-hand drive in Canada and Bri­tain.

Cars­guide un­der­stands Ford Aus­tralia is wait­ing for the up­dated Edge due 2018, but it still will not have a seven-seat op­tion.

Though they are in count­down to their fi­nal days, Fal­con and Ter­ri­tory still ac­count for 15 per cent of Ford Aus­tralia sales so far this year. With­out im­me­di­ate re­place­ments for the main­stay mod­els, buy­ers want­ing to up­date to same type and size of car will need look else­where.

FORD’S SUV LINE-UP

Seven-seaters have ac­counted for the ma­jor­ity of Ter­ri­tory sales, but Ford now says many buy­ers are down­siz­ing to a com­pact or switch­ing to a Ranger as their needs change and chil­dren grow up.

It will in­tro­duce rear-drive ver­sion of the Ever­est seven-seater later this year try ap­peal Ter­ri­tory cus­tomers. Apart from be­ing less car­like than to drive, it is ex­pected cost sub­stan­tially more.

The Ter­ri­tory has pre­vi­ously sold for less $40,000 and the Ever­est starts at $53,990 drive-away.

Rear-drive, five-seat Ever­ests are ex­pected to be avail­able for about $45,000.

Be­fore the end of the year the Kuga com­pact SUV will get a new nose and a new look, in line with up­dates model re­ceived over­seas ear­lier this year. Ford is un­der­stood to be plan­ning a more con­certed ef­fort up­dated Kuga the boom­ing seg­ment.

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