Ford is look­ing back

All things aren’t Eco at the Blue Oval as it con­sid­ers re­viv­ing an old hero

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

FORD may bring its iconic Fal­con XR8 back from the dead. At the mo­ment, as the com­pany fo­cuses on greener cars, buy­ing a Blue Oval car with a bent eight means find­ing at least $58,000 for an FPV.

But Ford Australia CEO Bob Graziano hints strongly at the re­sump­tion of a main­stream eight. ‘‘ We have been study­ing (the XR8 busi­ness case) for some time now,’’ he says.

‘‘ It is an iconic name and brand. With ev­ery­thing we are cur­rently do­ing, we just have to find the right bal­ance.’’

Ford has dras­ti­cally shaken up its show­room stock over the past 18 months, with 85 per cent of its line-up fea­tur­ing ei­ther all-new or markedly facelifted mod­els.

This week it adds the new five-door mid-sized Kuga SUV to the mix.

Ac­tu­ally, the Kuga isn’t all that new. The keenly an­tic­i­pated SUV is near­ing the end of its global life­cy­cle.

Based on the pre­vi­ous Fo­cus plat­form, it has only a year left in its cur­rent shape be­fore a newer face, new Fo­cus back­bone, and more vari­ants — which are likely to in­clude a small-ca­pac­ity diesel— make their way here in 2013.

‘‘ It’s taken a while to get the Kuga here, but we have just been so busy with all the other mod­els over the past 18 months; do the maths, and with the Kuga, we have changed 90 per cent of our show­room line-up,’’ Graziano says.

For now Australia gets a limited sup­ply of the Kuga, with a five-cylin­der turbo the sole en­gine, and two trim lev­els; the mid-spec Trend and top­shelf Ti­ta­nium.

Ford’s other small SUV, the Es­cape, will con­tinue to be sold along­side the Kuga for now, es­sen­tially fill­ing the role of the en­try-level SUV.

‘‘ The Kuga is our first step in our SUV growth story,’’ says Ford mar­ket­ing man­ager David Katic. ‘‘ The to­tal seg­ment is worth 12 per cent of the Aus­tralian mar­ket­place. The de­mand is huge.’’ Kuga test, Page 32

Sa­man­thastevens

Heart throb: The XR8 could re­turn, Ford’s

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