Falcon gone. Territory gone. Ford showrooms here will have an unfamiliar look in 2017 after the US company ceases local manufacturing in October 2016.
The Ford Falcon large car has been around for more than 50 years, the Territory SUV since 2004, but both disappear into history to make way for an import-only line-up in Australia.
The Mustang featured in our previous article will become the Blue Oval’s new hero model from 2015, but what other vehicles will be offered in its showrooms locally from 2017 onwards.
CarAdvice brings you a guide to the 11 Ford passenger cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles you’ll be able to buy here, as well as one that insiders have told us is being considered.
Ford Ka (subcompact city car)
The smallest model on this list but the only one with a big question mark against it. However, Ford sources have indicated the company is studying the latest-generation Ka for the Australian market. A concept of the third-gen model was unveiled in Brazil recently where it is being developed. Our insiders say the Ka’s chances of coming here could rest upon where it ends up being built – somewhere such as Thailand being ideal to benefit from the free trade agreement already favouring the Fiesta, Focus and Ranger. Regardless, Ford Australia knows it needs a sub-$15,000 vehicle to combat the raft of increasing micro-sized and micro-priced vehicles not just from China but that include the likes of the Mitsubishi Mirage and Volkswagen Up.
Ford Fiesta (city car)
Next year will mark 10 years since the Fiesta replaced the Festiva in Australia as Ford’s city car contender. Sales numbers remain respectable though they’re smaller than deserved for what is one of the finest cars to drive in its segment. No city car is more dynamic out on the open road, though it’s the Fiesta’s smooth ride and steering that also mark it as a great urban companion. There was a dip in quality, however, when the Fiesta moved from European to Thailand production for Australia. Fiesta is currently priced from $15,825. A new 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder ‘EcoBoost’ engine joins the range this month. With the latest (sixth) generation Fiesta having been released in 2008, the next iteration would be expected in 2015.
Ford Focus (small car)
It’s not so long ago this small car was pencilled in to be built in Ford Australia’s Broadmeadows plant before an expected U-turn saw the company decide instead to spend government money on more efficient versions of the Falcon and Territory. The Focus has embedded itself as a solid player for Ford Australia, even if it can’t match the small-car powers that are the Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla. With the latest-gen having only emerged in 2011 it will head into 2017 close to replacement. A new halo model in the form of the latest RS hot-hatch, however, will provide an injection in 2015. The Focus had also been expected to gain the 1.0L EcoBoost engine, though it may instead get a 1.4-litre turbo because Ford Australia is concerned a 1.0L version may overlap too uncomfortably with the Fiesta.
Ford Mondeo (medium car)
This is the car that will essentially replace the Falcon in 2017 as the option for buyers looking for a big Ford sedan. The current Mondeo is already not far shy of the Falcon’s length and the new-generation model grows in size again. The Mondeo is another European-focused Ford that took its time to reach Australia – despite a brief and unsuccessful dabble with the nameplate locally in 1997 and 2000 – but has now settled as a solid medium car contender. The new Mondeo, however, is taking its time to get here. It debuted as the Fusion, as it is known in the US, at the 2012 Detroit motor show, though will arrive in Australia in late 2014 – a year later than expected. Expect engines to include EcoBoost direct inject turbos in 1.6L and and 2.0L sizes, plus a diesel.
Ford Mustang (sports car)
If you want a V8-powered Ford in Australia from 2017, the classic American muscle car will be the only choice. Ford has just unveiled the sixth-generation version that will become the first Mustang to be built officially in right-hand drive and be sold around the world – including Australia. It’s due here in late 2015 in coupe (‘Fastback’) and convertible body styles, powered by a choice of 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder or 5.0-litre V8 engines. Pricing is expected to start from $45,000. A stiffer, lighter body and the introduction of an independent rear suspension – in place of the basic live axle – bodes well for both ride and handling.
Ford EcoSport (subcompact SUV)
This subcompact SUV based on the Fiesta city car launched in November 2013. It’s currently built in India though its production source is tipped to switch to Thailand, where the Fiesta and Ranger are also built. It measures just over four metres long and is priced from $20,790 to make it one of the most affordable SUVs locally. It also debuted Ford’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo engine in Australia, producing impressive outputs of 92kW and 170Nm.
Ford Kuga (compact SUV)
Ford was late bringing the first-generation Kuga to Australia, as a replacement for the ageing Escape. It was initially available in just one specification – and an expensive and thirsty one at that. In early 2013, however, the second generation was released locally with not only a broader range but also vastly better pricing – starting $10K cheaper from $27,990 – to take on a hugely competitive segment including the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester. The range includes front- and all-wheel-drive models, and turbo petrol and diesel engines.
Ford Edge (mid-sized SUV)
Unveiled in concept form only at this stage at November’s Los Angeles motor show, Ford insiders have confirmed to CarAdvice that this is the SUV that will effectively replace the Territory. (Ford Australia, though, would have the option of retaining the Territory name that has been so successful.) It will certainly be a more technologically advanced vehicle than the Territory, offering the likes of radar-controlled cruise control, semi-automatic parking, lane keeping assist, blind spot warning and obstacle detection/avoidance. The Ford Edge concept, however, points to a five-seater, meaning families who bought a Territory for its seven seats will need to instead consider the Everest (see next model).
Ford Everest (large SUV)
This SUV spin-off from the Ranger ute has been anticipated for some time though was only confirmed in August 2013 with a concept model. Ford Australia is in the process of developing the Everest for release in 2015, where it will be pitched as an SUV with genuine off-road capability (which the Territory never had) to compete against rivals including the Toyota Prado, Holden Colorado 7 and Mitsubishi Pajero. Ford insiders say while the Ranger and Everest come from the same T6 project, there’s plenty of differentiation between the architectures beneath them.
Ford Transit Cargo (commercial van/cab chassis/bus)
Ford’s stalwart commercial van reaches its 50th anniversary in 2015 with more than seven million sales behind it. A new range goes on sale in Australia in early 2014, comprising Custom and Cargo versions. Cargo offers plenty of variations as with the outgoing Transit – with multiple roof heights, single-cab and double-cab chassis (with trays), and a 12-seater bus option again.
Ford Transit Custom (van)
Ford is pitching the new Transit as its most stylish, safest yet – and the Custom is also a new variant that still offers plenty of carrying ability though is designed to offer a more car-like experience in the cabin and on the road. Already available in New Zealand, the Transit Custom is powered by a 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine with six-speed manual and stop-start technology. Features include a retractable roof rack, 3.5-inch infotainment screen with Bluetooth connectivity, and there’s a useful 10.9m turning circle.
Ford Ranger (ute)
With dual-cab utes continuing to make impressive sales gains in Australia – and at the cost of car-based utes such as the Commodore and Falcon utes – the Ranger will continue to be a crucial player. The current model was designed and developed by Ford Australia for markets around the world, and if not necessarily always impressive on pricing is a terrifically engineered and designed utility. With utes traditionally having longer lifecycles than passenger cars and SUVs, this 2011-launched model has many a year left before it’s due for a change.
This article first appeared in the December/January 2014 issue of the CarAdvice iPad magazine. Download your free copy from the iTunes store.