We’re in safe territory
Ford says there’s a future for the SUV, writes PAUL GOVER
THE future of the breakthrough Ford Territory is finally looking safe, despite troubled times at Broadmeadows. A production plan for the first big remake of Australia’s only home-grown SUV is now locked in place ahead of a changeover early next year.
It comes as Ford reduces its workforce, not just on the production line that produces the Territory and Falcon but also in white-collar jobs at its Broadmeadows headquarters and factory at Geelong.
The Territory plan shows a continuing commitment to the car, even if it’s not yet included in the V6 engine changeover set for the Falcon in 2010. The makeover is neither a big spend nor a big alteration, but will give Ford’s wagon some added showroom impact.
Ford is not ready to go public on the Territory update, though the company confirms something is happening.
‘‘We have forward model plans for Territory. Basically, we are continuing to move forward with Territory. But we are not sharing details at this time,’’ Ford Australia’s Sinead McAlary says.
The changeover of the Territory is expected towards the end of the first quarter of next year, probably in late March.
The timing points to a preview of the updated Territory at the Melbourne Motor Show. The first vehicles are likely to roll out of Broadmeadows in February.
Changes to the Territory will be extensive, from sheet metal to the interior. But there is no news yet on a dedicated LPG model.
Insiders point to a more edgy look to the body, which will pick up some of the Ford styling direction already incorporated in the FG Falcon.
It could easily pass for an bigger Kuga, the European compact all-wheel-drive wagon based on the Focus. But the work will be concentrated on the front end. Nothing major is planned for the tail.
The dashboard from the new Falcon, or at least elements from it, should also be transplanted into the Territory.
But Ford has nothing official on its plans for the Territory.