With the U.S. economy in serious trouble, car companies have had to reshuffle their plans for the next few years. One of the many negatives resulting from a weakening U.S. dollar (and the strong Aussie dollar) is the declining profitability of exports.
News from Detriot today has brought Ford Australia fans some bad news, according to Bryce Hoffman from the Detroit News, Ford Motor Co. is bringing its rear-wheel-drive development back to the United States.
The Falcon platform has been the blue oval's global RWD platform for some time, although Ford Australia has not enjoyed the export success of its main rival Holden.
But with reports today suggesting that Ford America has already given the green-light for an American designed vehicle platform to form the basis for a new generation of rear-wheel-drive cars, the future of the Aussie icon is not looking good.
The new RWD platform is destined to be the basis for numerous Ford and Lincoln sedans, it will also be used for the all-new Ford Mustang. The report goes as far as to say the next generation Ford Falcon will also make use of the American designed RWD platform.
But don't panic just yet, none of these cars will see the light of day for at least another 3-4 years.
"On rear-wheel-drive, as we have already stated, we are working on a new platform and portfolio of vehicles," Derrick Kuzak, Ford's global head of product development, said Friday. "We will have more to say in the future."
The loss for Ford Australia could be huge, potentially leaving Holden as the only Australian manufacturer that designs and builds its own platforms. That doesn't seem to worry Ford America though as the need for a cheap and reliable RWD platform is crucial. Analysts have blamed the currency conversion rates as the main cause.
"You don't save any money with Australian dollars anymore, there are economies of scale in engineering too." said Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics LLP in Birmingham
According to Hall many Americans are starting to get sick of FWDs, opting to go back to traditional RWD cars.
"Americans have had 28-plus years of being hit over the head with the idea that front-wheel-drive is better, but there are segments of the market -- here and abroad -- that want rear-wheel-drive. They (Ford) need it for China, they need it for the Middle East and they need it for North America if they want to sell to certain enthusiasts."
It's not all bad news for Ford Australia though, there is a good possibility that Ford will follow in GM's footsteps and export its Aussie built large sedans. The Falcon could indeed be sent to the U.S. and the middle-east within the next few years as the manufacturer pushes to simplify its global vehicle lineup.
The one message that is crystal clear out of all the confusion, is that Ford America's market research is showing that Americans are starting to feel the need for RWD cars again.
Source: Detroit News.