Sally forth

The orig­i­nal pony car will re­turn to Aus­tralia

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - JOSHUA DOWLING NATIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDI­TOR joshua.dowling@cars­

FORD fans will soon have a rea­son to get over the loss of the lo­cally made Fal­con.

The iconic Ford Mus­tang will re­turn to Aus­tralia af­ter al­most 50 years.

Mus­cled-up ver­sions will re­place the Fal­con as Ford’s per­for­mance hero in 2016, the year the Fal­con is axed. Sources have told Cars­guide ‘‘ Mus­tang is a goer’’. Ford global vice-pres­i­dent of sales and mar­ket­ing Jim Far­ley will fly to Aus­tralia to de­liver the good news on Au­gust 13.

Far­ley is the same Detroit ex­ec­u­tive who spent the past three years de­flect­ing me­dia ques­tions about the fu­ture of Ford’s Aus­tralian man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions.

Nor­mally se­cre­tive, Ford is tak­ing the un­usual step of mak­ing the an­nounce­ment early to try to re­as­sure Aus­tralians it will con­tinue to sell cars here de­spite clos­ing its fac­to­ries af­ter 90 years.

Aus­tralia will not get the Mus­tang cur­rently on sale in North Amer­ica but an all-new model that’s been de­signed for global sales. It is due to be un­veiled at next year’s New York mo­tor show, the 50th an­niver­sary of the Mus­tang.

Some coun­tries will get a four-cylin­der but it is un­der­stood Ford Aus­tralia will take only the V8 per­for­mance mod­els.

The late 1960s was the last time a Ford Mus­tang was im­ported to Aus­tralia (as a right-hand-drive).

Ford Aus­tralia con­verted a small num­ber of Mus­tangs lo­cally be­tween 2001 and 2003. They were rushed in to com­pete with the mod­ern Holden Monaro but, at nearly $90,000, fewer than 400 were sold.

Ford won’t make the same mis­take this time. The new Mus­tang is ex­pected to have a start­ing price close to $50,000. In the US the ba­sic V6 Mus­tang costs less than $30,000.

The new-gen­er­a­tion Mus­tang has al­ready been con­firmed for Bri­tain, which is likely to be the largest mar­ket for right-hand-drive mod­els, with Aus­tralia next in line. RHD Mus­tangs are ex­pected to ac­count for less than 10 per cent of global sales so Ford Detroit is keen to sell in as many coun­tries as pos­si­ble to re­cover the ex­tra en­gi­neer­ing costs.

The Mus­tang will spear­head Ford Aus­tralia’s re­vived lineup at a time when it will likely be re­ceiv­ing gloomy pub­lic­ity over its fac­tory clo­sures.

When an­nounc­ing the clo­sure of the Broad­mead­ows car assem­bly line and Gee­long engine fac­tory, Ford Aus­tralia boss Bob Graziano said the com­pany would in­crease its model range by 30 per cent with more im­ported cars.

The ar­rival of the Mus­tang may per­suade or­gan­is­ers of the V8 Su­per­cars rac­ing se­ries to mod­ify the rules to al­low twodoor coupes to com­pete. Only sedans are el­i­gi­ble to race in Aus­tralia’s pre­mier motorsport cham­pi­onship.

Rac­ing le­gend Dick John­son raced a Mus­tang in the 1985 and 1986 Aus­tralian tour­ing car ti­tles when Ford tem­po­rar­ily dropped the Fal­con V8.

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