Mus­tang rally

Ford is get­ting ready for a big-name re­turn when the Fal­con’s race is run

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­

THE world’s most fa­mous mus­cle car, the Ford Mus­tang, is nearly cer­tain to be­come the Blue Oval’s new hero af­ter the Fal­con’s demise in 2016.

The next-gen­er­a­tion Mus­tang is al­ready con­firmed for Europe and it could be only a ques­tion of when— not if— it is con­firmed for Aus­tralia.

The born-again Mus­tang is what Ford needs to re­build the shat­tered con­fi­dence of its lo­cal fol­low­ers in the wake of last year’s early death no­tice for the Fal­con and Ter­ri­tory in 2016, es­pe­cially as the FPV GT is also on death row.

‘‘ We ob­vi­ously don’t talk about for­ward pro­grams, so I can’t tell you we will have Mus­tang here,’’ Ford Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Bob Graziano says.

‘‘ But it’s one I hear a lot about. It’s a very iconic ve­hi­cle, as is the F Se­ries truck.

‘‘ For the next three and a half years, the hero car will con­tinue to be the Fal­con range. And we’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to the fresh­en­ing com­ing next year.’’

Graziano wants Ford fol­low­ers to stay with the brand and says it’s not just about one car or a fa­mous badge ‘‘ We’ll have a full port­fo­lio of prod­ucts, right across the board. I don’t know that we’ll fo­cus on in­ter­na­tional or global or any­thing of that na­ture.’’

Graziano says Ford Aus­tralia will still have about 1500 em­ploy­ees even af­ter it shuts the doors at Broad­mead­ows and Gee­long. The ma­jor­ity will be in the en­gi­neer­ing group that’s now work­ing on projects through­out the Ford world.

But the news is not as good for Ford Per­for­mance Ve­hi­cles, which Ford took in-house af­ter buy­ing out Bri­tish owner Pro­drive. ‘‘ We haven’t taken any de­ci­sion,’’ Graziano says.

‘‘ We’re look­ing at the line-up to be as ef­fi­cient as we can be.’’ But Graziano is not con­fi­dent about the Fal­con GT.

‘‘ I think in per­for­mance ve­hi­cles we use the ST name. I don’t think we would use GT on any other ve­hi­cle. I think that would be very strange go­ing for­ward. It’s part of the Fal­con nomen­cla­ture, from my per­spec­tive.’’

As for next year’s sched­uled up­date of the Fal­con and Ter­ri­tory, and whether Broad­mead­ows will even sur­vive to the end of 2014, Graziano is up­beat.

‘‘I’m cau­tiously op­ti­mistic that we will get through to the end of Oc­to­ber in 2016.

‘‘ It’s very early days . . . but I’m en­cour­aged by the level of in­ter­est.’’

He con­cedes the 2014 Fal­con will not match the VF Com­modore, which is eas­ily the best Aus­tralian car yet.

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