by James Stanford

Ford Motor Company chief operating officer Mark Fields admits next year’s launch of the facelifted Ford Falcon will be unprecedented.

This is because the updated Falcon will be launched from death row.

CarAdvice asked Fields whether, to his knowledge, the 2014 FH Falcon would be the first new or updated model Ford has ever launched after announcing the model line would be killed off. We also asked that if there was any such precedent, was the condemned model a success?

Fields replied: “From our perspective, we probably have not had this before…”

He continued with: “But you’ve got to look at the question and back up to what does it mean for the whole business?”

And what does it mean for the whole business?

“Customers are going to have a lot more choices when they step into a Ford dealership as opposed to ‘We are just the Falcon company’, in a segment that is shrinking,” Fields said.


It was typical Ford Motor Company obfuscation, changing the subject from the Falcon and focusing on all the other models it will introduce in the next few years.

That was the key driver behind Ford’s Go Further extravaganza at Sydney’s Fox Studios this week, which was held to divert attention away from flat-lining Falcon sales and show Australian customers Ford dealers will have plenty to offer when the Falcon is buried, along with the Territory, in 2016.

The Falcon’s presence was limited to a short video teaser. It was the only model in the line-up that was not driven onto the stage during the event, even though two Transit vans were given a gig.

There was no reference to Ford Australia’s near 90 years of manufacturing heritage or the recent decision to end local production during the lengthy presentation.

Fields was hit with plenty of questions about Falcon after the event, though.


He was asked whether Ford would proceed with the 2014 FH Falcon even though sales of the current car slumped to a historic low of 594 last month.

“We have been working on the update for a while now. We are going to follow through on it, we are going to introduce it to the marketplace and as we said, at the same time, we are filling out the rest of our product line-up,” Fields said.

While the FH update is locked and loaded, Fields, along with other key Ford executives including global president Alan Mulally, was not prepared to promise that Falcon production would continue through to October 2016.

“Every week we literally get together and look at the business environment,” Fields told CarAdvice.

“As you know, the business environment changes a lot. Look at what has happened to the D segment here. Forget about the last three years, look at the last 12 months and what has happened, not only because of consumer demand, but also some outside elements such as the FBT [Fringe Benefit Tax changes recently introduced federally].”


Fields said the tax was clearly hurting Falcon sales, with production down days scheduled for its Geelong and Campbellfield plants.

“Clearly, we have seen an impact to it and that’s why we have taken the 12 down days,” he said.

“It comes back into the strategy of marrying production with demand and we’ll see how it plays out, but clearly it is going to impact the marketplace in a negative way, not a positive way.

“Over the next month or two it will probably just keep people out of the market until they see what happens with elections and all of that.”

  • Tony Abbotts No1 Fan

    Ford Aust have been the falcon Motor Co Aust for ages & that has been a contributor to its demise too. So much rested on the shoulders of one model for too long & it came unstuck for many many reasons.

    It is incredibly sad that Ford will stop manufacturing in the country after some 90 years which is a great effort in anyones language.

    Rightly or wrongly, they have made a business decision & yes it impacts on many thousands of people & not just the employee’s, but they’re not leaving entirely as the development work of the Ranger & now the Everest show.

    If anything positive has come out of this, it will enable Ford to bring in models that whatever reason werent available here previously. Maybe its the awakening of a sleeping giant, which would be nothing but good for its dealer network

  • Never buy a ford again

    This will be the last ford I buy.

    • Dan

      If this new FH Falcon ends up looking ugly. I’ll hastily purchase either a 50th anniversary XR6T, or the latest FG F6.

      • Callum Andrews

        The 2014 Falcon looks brilliant! Apparently those who have seen it think it looks ‘great’ and are very excited to get it out there in the showrooms. Start saving you pennies for the best Falcon ever coming in late 2014.

    • Rocket

      If GM and Toyota shut their factories I suppose you will be the guy riding the unicycle wearing a clowns outfit……

      • Lucky Eddie

        Rocket that was BRILLIANT. Spot on.! LMAO

    • Jason Reid

      That’s why we got a Diesel Cruze.

  • F1orce

    Excuses, Excuses & more excuses.

    • Blackpoint

      That was F1orce reply to Never buy a a ford again. lol

      • Tony Abbotts No1 Fan


  • Geoff

    “It was typical Ford Motor Company obfuscation, changing the subject from the Falcon and focusing on all the other models it will introduce in the next few years.”

    Isn’t this the pot calling the kettle black? The media love to change the subject from the positivity of new models to the negativity of Falcon. There’s no news like bad news! The Falcon is and will always be a great car but its had its time in the sun, it no longer has a business case going forward and doesn’t fit into the global portfolio after 2016. Everyone just needs to accept this and move on.

    • Rocket

      Ford are giving the buying public and the workers 3 years notice which is unprecedented in the the world. Yes it is disappointing they are closing the factories but at least they will have a 1000 engineers designing cars here still which is more than Holden and Toyota.

  • zahmad

    One thing I wonder is that how bad are Falcon sales in the grand scheme of things…
    When the Mitsubishi 380 had stopped production, what percentage of sales was in out of the total large car sales on a yearly basis?

    It seems Ford’s numbers are even worse than he 380 as a ratio?

    • marc

      Good point, but no one banks ratios. Unit sales are everything.

      • zahmad

        Sad but true….

  • AAFordMan

    Hey Mr Field, before you keep carrying on with your corporate feel good lines on how wonderful things will occur after you lay off 1600 or so Aussie workers, why don’t you come clean on exactly how much it costs to get a car to the gate of your factory before margins are added, and then what margin do you add. There are small companies all around Australia that must compete with product from third world manufacturing facilities (such as where your manufacturing is shifting), and they must cut their margins to the bone just to stay afloat. They don’t have the luxury of shifting their production to a cheaper country, and 99% of them have the social conscience and integrity to keep battling on, because they know that other Aussies rely on them for their jobs. Surely ford don’t price the falcons and territories to sell at a loss…..why don’t you cut your margins back to naff all to up your sales and at least keep the workers in a job. You might even find you sell more (money talks bigtime with buyers!). What ford are doing is just the tip of an iceberg, with only the biggest companies being able to move shop when it suits. I can see from the way the lion is positioning itself, they are about to do the same as the blue oval, they are just letting the blue oval cop the flak before they pull up stumps. One Ford may be a global initiative, but I for one want big companies such as Ford, who want our loyalty as a buyer, to try thinking locally for once. (I know that there are some highly opinionated bloggers who will be glad to see ford shut their doors, and to them I hope that some time during the next 3 years they loose their jobs to a cheaper foreign import!) Keep Australian manufacturing alive!

    • Scott_A_A

      The problem is not loyalty but viability. When the US downturn struck, the Obama package for US car manufacturers stated that ALL manufacturers rationalise their business models or forgo any assistance, which also included future assistance. For GM this meant killing off the likes of Pontiac, hence why we saw Commodores with GTO front ends! At this point in time GM were also eyeing off Holden and made the decision to kill it off. (Nothing was going to save Holden!)

      Ford also knew this. Ford’s approach was more pragmatic. They looked at the world-wide business model, which they had been restructuring for more than 10 years, and found that Australia was never again going to be a viable alternative to manufacturing, especially if they ever wanted to export their Australian made vehicles. Melbourne is a long way away from the rest of the world!

      Australian wages were exorbitant and the lack of flexibility in the working conditions certainly helped their demise. Remember, employment is a two-way street! The unions ordered rolling strikes and slow-downs and when you employer is looking at the options this was a pretty idiotic thing to do! The car makers had to incur the carbon tax which added $millions to their costs. Then Rudd introduced the FBT changes and this had a massive impact on Australian car makers, especially Ford who was already struggling. In fact it was the death knell!

      Our company employs more than 3,000 people, many of whom have novated leases. We cancelled 15 company leases and more than 30 private leases for Ford vehicles alone. A friend of mine lost his job, as did his colleagues, with Motorama in Brisbane only 5 days after Rudd’s FBT announcement. The FBT changes gutted what was left of our car manufacturing industry and it’s support industries. Loyalty doesn’t pay the bills!

      As for Ford. I’ve always owned a Ford. My first car was a BG Escort but then I bought an XC GXL 5.8 litre dream car.

      Sadly after I married my wife decided it was too powerful for her, in fact it scared her witless when she drove it, so I sold it and made the mistake of buying a new Camry in ’89, what an error of judgement. I got rid of that garbage 12 months later and bought a 2nd hand XF Fairmont (amazing car) which I later traded for an EA station wagon. This car was close to the best vehicle I’ve ever owned. It was basic, no frills but turn the key and it just went and went. I upgraded to the ugly AU (which I have passed down to my daughter) and that, believe it or not, WAS/IS the best car I’ve ever had. They are reliable, economic, very quick on the highway when overtaking and a pleasure to drive. I now also own an FG XR6.

      The sad thing for Ford though is that locally it’s only ever looked at what Holden was doing and not the likes of Mazda, Hyundai, Kia etc. People don’t want Falcons or Commodores, they want a vehicle they can drive to work that doesn’t cost a third of their wage in petrol. They want something that they can easily commute in the city and then if needed go on weekend’s where they may even need to get off the sealed road. Remember, it was the need for a dual-purpose vehicle from a lady pig farmer in Melbourne that saw the Ford Motor Company produce the world’s first light utility (ute). It beggars belief that almost 100 ears ago Ford listened to their customers and produced what people wanted yet now they can’t.

      I’ve always been a Ford man but my next vehicle is most likely going to be a mid-range SUV. Drive a Mazda CX-5 Diesel and see if you can still justify buying a Falcon. Ford must change to survive and unfortunately to do that Australia will not and cannot be a part of that manufacturing cycle.

      Take a look in the car-parks at Ford, Holden and Toyota and see how many people actually buy what they build. Hardly any of the workers buy their own vehicles and they get huge discounts so how can they expect anyone else to buy them. Quite simply, we all contributed to its demise, including Ford and its workers.

  • Mark Kevin

    These Caradvice goons are obsessed with negativity. Use of terms like “death row” and “killed” and “buried”, which is no surprise given they have had it in for the Falcon for years, led by Mr Spinks who used to carry on the exact same way when he was writing for Drivel. The only people who don’t seem to get that Ford is not the Falcon Motor Company is you guys, continually harping on and on about the Falcon like there is nothing else to speak of. Ford could have killed off the Falcon if they wanted to but the fact they are giving fans one last model to send it off – even in the face of all the flowing red ink – is a positive, despite how you are trying to twist it.

    • Smart US

      agreed – negativity, pessimism, endless critique belong to Death Metal only

    • Rocket

      You get the feeling some in the media want Ford to shut the factories earlier. No doubt Holden would want this so the VF as no competition.

      • MD

        Clutching at straws yet again Rocket – Commodore has done well enough for the last 10+ years against the falcon. Holden have no interest in the falcon going under. How about you lay the blame at the real culprits – Ford & its unwillingness to market the falcon (Ecoboost or otherwise)

        • mick

          is that why your beloved holden is whining for government money AGAIN

        • Tony Abbotts No1 Fan

          If your idea of doing “well enough” is based on how it compares to the Falcon, I would hate to see what you would call not good enough.
          Maybe you need to visit spec savers. GM are no White Knights either & they have made if very clear…show us the money or see ya later.
          Get your head out of the sand

          • MD

            Your inability to admit that Commodore continues to be one of the best selling cars in the country against all competition shows whose head is really stuck in the sand – nothing to do with SpecSavers just an ability to understand plain English. As for more Govt money, I can only hope so – will only worry me when it gets to be anything like the support that other Govts give their auto industries.

  • Daniel D

    If at the Go Ford Extravaganza they had announced they were going to have an all new dealer network, I would have been excited.

  • MrT

    >Fields said the tax was clearly hurting Falcon sales

    it hasn’t hurt the Commodore, so that’s one lie out of the way

  • marc

    Can’t wait for the FN Falcon

    • Callum Andrews

      Most think it will be called the FH Falcon, and yeah I can’t wait! I’ll be buying one!

  • Zaccy16

    10 years ago the falcon would have been the majority of the event!!

    • Callum Andrews

      Yeah :( too bad it isn’t now :(

  • Redline

    The FG Falcon proved to be too good. Heard various models (XT, XR & GT) were secretly shipped to USA for evaluation – very well received and they would’ve sold thousands. Ford USA didn’t like this (embarrassed), and it goes against their global car strategy = good-by Falcon. ‘An doon’t cume baack – ya hear!

  • asdfasdf

    After this model, Geelong will be a ghost town?

  • asdfasdf

    If I had the spare cash, I would get one of the last Falcons as it’s going to be the last ones manufactured in Aus and will be a collectors’ item.

    • Callum Andrews

      The 2014 Falcon will be an awesome car!

  • Aaron

    I wish Ford Aus did not have to go, its a part of my life that wil go with it

  • Luke

    The only reason it isn’t selling well is, because Ford US won’t give any advertising money to Ford Aus to advertise this car. They want it gone, its all part of Fords ‘One’ plan, to make Ford more global, like Toyota. P.S. MEDIA STOP ADVERTISING THE FALCON AS BASICALLY DEAD, saying its basically dead, deters customers from wanting to purchase this car. ITS NOT BASICALLY DEAD, ITS STILL ALIVE AND KICKING!!!1

  • Mr. Magoo

    I’m surprised no one had picked the obvious. Yep it’s sad to see Falcon go and the impact it will have on the wider component suppliers and this will affect Holden and Toyota too. Falcon is a great car so why isn’t it selling ?

    When ford updated from BA to BF they did not differentiate the BF enough from BA, you’d be pressed to tell the difference between the two models. Ford again blundered with FG it too still resembled BA to much. Line up all three BA XT BF XT and FG XT and there is bugger all difference in styling and looks. This is why Falcon isn’t selling ! Why would you pay nearly $37,000 for a new Falcon when it looks like a the previous models?

    It seems Ford are very nervous when it comes to updating a model I guess this might be from AU debacle but if you want to sell your product you have to make each update look different and Ford aren’t doing that.

    The clear lack of advertising too isn’t helping but FOA are under orders from Dearborn and this is one model they want gone!

    • Callum Andrews

      Well prepare to be shocked and excited mate, this 2014 Falcon looks not only a lot different but a lot better than the current FG Falcon. Australia is going to love the 2014 Falcon when it hits showrooms.