The Ford Mustang is returning to Australia but a bigger surprise is that the Blue Oval's American large car, the Taurus, is not set to replace the Falcon from 2017.
A return of the famous US muscle car has been expected after Ford announced in 2012 that the Mustang would be produced in right-hand drive and become the latest member of the line-up to be sold as a global vehicle under the company's One Ford strategy.
The Ford Taurus had also been anticipated as a replacement for the Falcon ever since Ford Motor Company boss Alan Mulally told Australian journalists in 2010 that the One Ford rule would also apply to its large cars. The significance of his quote meant there was no longer a future for the Falcon that was unique to one country despite denials from the company.
With sources indicating to CarAdvice that the Taurus is not currently planned for Australia, the next-generation Ford Mondeo medium car, due in early 2014, is on course to become the company's alternative to the likes of the Holden Commodore and upcoming Nissan Altima.
With the large car market in such rapid decline, the new Mondeo (above) would comfortably straddle the medium and large car segments as it is less than a 100mm shorter than the Falcon.
The Mustang, however, is definitely coming and will be announced at a special event in September, heralding the return of the ’Stang to local showrooms for the first time since the 1960s if you don't count versions (pictured below) that were converted to RHD in 2001/2002 by Ford Australia's performance partner at the time, Tickford Vehicle Engineering.
Ford Australia is in the process of ramping up its range of imported models ahead of ending local production of the Falcon sedan and Territory SUV. The company plans to boost its number of new models by about 30 per cent between now and 2016 as it prepares to become an import-only business.
Ford’s vice president of global sales and marketing, Jim Farley, is flying to Australia to provide high-level-executive support for an announcement that will be complemented by new technology reveals and is designed to show Ford’s commitment to the local market from 2017 onwards.
CarAdvice understands there are no plans to raid the North American market for other products such as the F-150 mega-ute or the Explorer SUV that has been rumoured as a replacement for the Territory. Both have been spied on Australian roads, though Ford has said they are only part of normal global testing processes.
Ford Australia will instead focus more on models from Europe, or Asia - such as the Indian-built Ford EcoSport baby SUV due December 2013.
Ford Australia's replacement for the Territory large soft-roader looks to lie with the new Ranger-ute-based SUV due in 2014 but is still to be officially confirmed.
The famous ‘Pony’ car should drive better than ever before in next-generation form. The muscle car is switching from an old-school live rear axle to a more contemporary independent rear suspension.
The rear suspension could be based around the ‘Control blade’ set-up, according to speculation – used to great effect by Ford, and also Ford Australia with the locally built Falcon and Territory.
Ford Australia is remaining coy about whether its rear-wheel-drive expertise is being brought into play with the Mustang, which would follow Holden's involvement in the development of the Commodore-based Chevrolet Camaro.
The styling is tipped to have more European influence – based around the current global language driven by Ford of Europe and found in the likes of the upcoming Ford Mondeo.
A range of engines is set to be offered with the new model beyond the classic V8, including a four-cylinder ‘EcoBoost’ turbo. A 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost turbo also has potential.
Convertible and Fastback body styles can also be counted on confidently.
The new Ford Mustang could make its first appearance at the 2014 Detroit motor show in January, though the smart money would be on the New York motor show in April – which coincides neatly with the 50th anniversary of the muscle car.