An­other new Ford fo­cus

The big plan is for Fal­con, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

WHAT is hap­pen­ing Ford Aus­tralia? We’ve now had three dif­fer­ent pres­i­dents with three very dif­fer­ent plans for the com­pany’s fu­ture. The lat­est one, re­ported in de­tail this week, has some sig­nif­i­cant holes.

When Tom Gor­man was in the big chair he was cer­tain the Fal­con should be switched to a V6 en­gine. Then Bill Os­borne ar­rived and changed the fo­cus to lo­cal pro­duc­tion of the baby Fo­cus.

Now we have Marin Burela and the Fo­cus is dead, prob­a­bly with pro­duc­tion to move to Thai­land for duty-free im­ports to Aus­tralia.

The new plan calls for a four­cylin­der Fal­con with much more work on diesel and LPG power for the Fal­con and Ter­ri­tory.

‘‘We have a lot planned,’’ Burela says.

Yet none of th­ese plans have be­come a re­al­ity and the lat­est one shows lit­tle of the de­tail needed to gen­er­ate real en­thu­si­asm.

There is talk of a diesel en­gine for the Ter­ri­tory, but no con­firm-

at ation of a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion model. The Fal­con en­gine de­vel­op­ments look good on pa­per, but do very lit­tle to make it more at­trac­tive as an ex­port car.

And that’s the big ques­tion: how does Ford Aus­tralia now fit into the global strat­egy?

The Fo­cus plan would have linked Aus­tralia to the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion, but we now have to wait and see if the Fal­con and Ter­ri­tory can sur­vive only as lo­cals, or if they can be­come ex­port earn­ers.

The end of the Fo­cus plan is bad news for the com­po­nent sup­pli­ers who would have won fresh busi­ness. It could also hurt the other lo­cal car­mak­ers — Toy­ota and GM Holden — who are re­ly­ing on sup­pli­ers to keep their busi­ness mod­els work­ing.

I like to keep my glass half-full and I’m hop­ing the Burela plan works. But lots of ques­tions are still to be an­swered.

Line of fire:

Ford Aus­tralia will be putting more em­pha­sis on a four-cylin­der Fal­con on its pro­duc­tion line.

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