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by Jez Spinks

The 2014 Ford Falcon has been briefly teased in sketch form at the 2012 Sydney motor show as Ford Australia tries to provide assurances about the large car’s future.

Ford showed an image for just a few seconds as part of its media day presentation.

The company isn’t releasing the image for publication because it claims the sketch is quite detailed. We can report, however, that the picture suggests clearly that the new-look Falcon will embrace Ford’s new global design language that is seen first in the new Ford Mondeo that is also at the show (and pictured below).

“I think it’s fair to assume that we’re pretty excited about the 2014 [Ford Falcon] program,” Ford Australia boss Bob Graziano told CarAdvice at the show. “And what we wanted to do was just tease a little bit about Falcon without giving too much away.

“It is an important vehicle I our showroom and that’s why we thought we would put it in the [2012 Sydney motor show] program.

“This is all about design, and where it’s going in the future.”

Speculation about the future of Ford’s manufacturing operations in Australia have intensified this year.

Of the three local car makers, with Holden and Toyota, Ford has given the shortest period of a guaranteed production presence locally. Earlier this year it announced a co-investment with the Federal Government that would lead to upgraded versions of the Falcon and Territory for 2014, with a manufacturing commitment only until 2016.

Ford Falcon sales have plummeted in the past two years, and although Graziano says Ford is still committed to the Falcon the company couldn’t predict where sales would be by the 2014-2016.

“It’s tough to see where it will settle [by 2014-2016],” he said, “but it’s starting to moderate at the levels where it is right now.

“[But] the thing we’re really excited about with Falcon and Territory is the breadth of powertrain line-up right now. With Ecoboost, EcoLPI, six-cylinder and FPV with their eight cylinders. We’ve got diesel power now in Territory.

“So we’re excited about where that vehicle and platform is going in the future.”

Ford says it still believes improved fuel efficiency is the key to keeping the Falcon relevant.

“Absolutely [fuel efficiency is answer for large cars],” says Graziano. “We talked about it being a slow take-up initially. And if you look at our F-series trucks, there is experience in the US that it took a couple of years that people really got it and got their heads around it that you could have a six-cylinder engine in this big truck.

“And that now represents about 40 per cent of sales.

“And we’re now seeing an improvement in EcoBoost on Falcon month in month out as people understand they don’t have to trade off performance.

“I get better fuel efficiency, I’m lowering CO2 emissions, which from a consumer point of view is ‘my pocketbook’. I don’t have to trade off my large car, I can keep that and tha’t s what I need in my family.”