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.
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.