Ford Australia has officially announced major engine developments for its Falcon and Territory vehicles, including diesel and four-cylinder engines, in a press conference at its corporate headquarters at Broadmeadows, Victoria.
By Paul Maric and David Twomey
The historic changes for the Australian manufacturer will cost $230-million, $42-million of which comes from the Federal Government’s Green Car Innovation Fund.
Today’s announcement is also supported by an assistance package, for an undisclosed amount of money, from the Victorian State Government.
In addition to Ford’s previous investment to engineer the company’s locally manufactured in-line six-cylinder engine to comply with Euro Four emission standards, it will now fit the all-new EcoBoost four-cylinder engine across the Falcon range.
The EcoBoost engines have only recently been announced by Ford in the US and the four-cylinder engine is reported to produce 205kW and 379Nm, more than enough to propel the Falcon.
After announcing the axing of the locally produced Focus program, the Australian manufacturer went one step further announcing the future plans for Falcon and Territory, to be in place by 2010 and 2011.
As exclusively exposed by CarAdvice on Tuesday, Ford will use the 2.7-litre turbo-diesel engine shared by Land Rover, Peugeot and Citroen in the Territory – ditching initial plans to use a Volvo sourced five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.
The 140kW/450Nm V6 diesel will be mated to Ford’s six-speed ZF Sachs transmission at first, but will almost certainly move over to the six-speed Powershift gearbox currently used in the Focus, in a bid to reduce the Territory’s rather thirsty need for fuel. The vehicle will hit the local market from early 2011.
Clean diesel variants, in other words those with a particulate filter, of a new 2.7-litre V6 engine will reduce CO2 by up to 25 per cent from six-cylinder petrol engines.
In addition to plans for a V6 diesel, Ford will adopt the 2.0-litre ‘EcoBoost’ petrol engine in the Falcon which is Ford Motor Company’s new high-volume affordable engine technology, slated for a range of global vehicles ranging from small cars, through to large trucks. It will be the first rear-wheel-drive application of the EcoBoost engine technology.
EcoBoost utilises direct injection petrol and turbocharged technology for up to 20 per cent better fuel economy and 15 per cent fewer CO2 emissions.
Ford claims the new engine will deliver four-cylinder fuel economy with six-cylinder performance.
The EcoBoost engine will be mated to Ford’s six-speed Powershift gearbox, which uses dual-clutch technology for remarkably fast gearshifts. The EcoBoost engine will be in the Falcon from 2011. The vehicle will remain rear-wheel-drive, the first application of this arrangement in the world.
The key to the EcoBoost system is the harmony between the turbochargers and direct-injection fuel system. The turbochargers recover energy from the exhaust that otherwise would have been wasted and put it back in the engine to gain efficiency. Simply, the turbocharging system puts more air into the engine for more power. A compressor increases or “boosts” the pressure of the air entering the engine. An intercooler reduces the air temperature before it enters the engine.
The final announcement was the introduction of a liquid-injection LPG in-line six-cylinder engine from 2010. Ford claims the engine will be promoted as the most advanced LPG system in Australia, polar opposites to its current arrangement for Falcon and Territory. The liquid-injected LPG will be used in the Falcon and Territory from 2010.
Initial analysis indicates liquid injection LPG technology can reduce CO2 levels 12 per cent or more compared to current LPG technology.
In addition to the news of new engines, Ford told the large media gathering that by 2012, 98 per cent of Ford’s vehicles will be equipped with it’s dual-clutch Powershift transmission.
“Today’s announcements put Ford Australia in a strong position for profitable growth in today’s auto industry,” said Marin Burela, President & CEO of Ford Australia.
“We are ensuring our core Falcon and Territory vehicles will have the most advanced, high-tech and cleanest engines possible. At the same time, this represents the biggest environmental transformation in the 50-year history of Ford Falcon by giving buyers the newest engine in the Ford Motor Company stable.
“Falcon customers will now have the choice of either the continually popular I6 engine, which will be Euro Four compliant, or one of the first global applications of Ford’s EcoBoost, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines, while in a similar time frame Territory customers will be able to access Ford’s world-class clean diesel engine technology,” Mr Burela continued.
These significant projects add to a continued program of ongoing investment by Ford in the Australian market, including:
* More than $500 million investment in the current FG Falcon range of vehicles.
* Leading design and engineering work on Ford’s next generation compact pick-up truck, which will eventually be sold in more than 100 countries.
* More than $80 million invested at the Lara Proving Ground, including building the largest environmental wind tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere.
* $21 million investment in ongoing production of the company’s iconic in-line six-cylinder engine, which will become Euro IV compliant in mid-2010.
“Ford is the only local manufacturer to increase market share in Australia over the past year. Last month, we reinstated two non-production days back into the production schedule as a result of rising demands.
“In June, Falcon Ute sales were their best since June 2006, the Falcon XR had its best monthly sales on record, and demand for the new-look Territory has exceeded our expectations” said Mr Burela.
Performance variants of the Falcon and Territory will remain, but the focus on fuel efficiency and green motoring is sure to appease the portion of the population which has shunned the brand for non-green models such as the Falcon and Territory.