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