Another new Ford focus
The big plan is for Falcon, writes PAUL GOVER
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.