We’re in safe ter­ri­tory

Ford says there’s a fu­ture for the SUV, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide -

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.

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