Fairfax media is reporting that the Ford Falcon wagon will be discontinued from June this year as buyers continue to shy away from the large station wagon in favour of smaller wagons and SUVs.
The petrol-powered Falcon wagon, which has been a staple of Ford’s large car lineup since 1960, will be axed on the eve of its 50th anniversary. The Falcon wagon’s E-Gas variant will get a stay of execution until September.
The current Falcon wagon did not receive the latest round of engine and styling updates with the FG model in 2008, instead continuing with the BA/BF shape through a series of minor face-lifts. The wagon was also only made available in one, entry-level specification, the Falcon XT, which may have contributed in steering family buyers toward more highly specified models elsewhere in the Ford lineup.
Falcon wagon sales have steadily declined over the past decade, most notably since Ford introduced its popular Territory SUV model in April 2004. Last year, Ford sold fewer than 2500 Falcon wagon models, accounting for approximately 8 per cent of all Falcon model sales.
As the company car of choice, especially among large fleet buyers, the Ford Falcon wagon was renowned for its load carrying ability and no-nonsense design featuring a leaf sprung rear end straight out of Ford’s Falcon utility models. Sadly, fleet sales alone were not strong enough to keep the model alive.
“It’s done an outstanding job for us over the years and has certainly delivered to customer expectation,” said Ford Australia CEO, Mr Marin Burela.
“We’re very, very comfortable with the decision. It was a great car then … it still is a great car now, but we’re now moving forward.”
Locally, Ford buyers will now have a choice of two wagon derivatives: the slightly smaller European-sourced Mondeo, and the larger, Falcon-based Territory SUV. Ford will offer Territory with a turbo-diesel engine from next year, joining petrol- and LPG-powered variants.
Mr Burela says the demise of the Falcon wagon will allow more capacity for Ford’s Broadmeadows, Victoria plant, allowing greater production numbers of Territory and Falcon sedan models, including a more economic four-cylinder turbocharged Falcon sedan due later this year.
“My expectation – even without wagon as part of our mix in 2010 – is that our build volume will increase between 10 and 15 per cent.” said Mr Burela.
The news comes as the Australian-built Falcon faces an uncertain future with US parent’s ‘One Ford’ policy meaning the manufacturer will build a similar range of vehicles on shared platforms for global consumption. Ford Australia will look to platform sharing with US models such as the Taurus from 2014.
In an interesting twist, the death of the Ford Falcon wagon comes as direct rival, the Holden Commodore Sportwagon, enjoys increasingly strong sales.
Holden sold 14,635 Sportwagon variants in 2009, the figures making up almost half of Commodore’s total yearly sales of 29,752 units.
CarAdvice has contacted Ford Australia for further comment and will update this post as soon as new information comes to hand.