The Ford Motor Company is an American automobile manufacturer founded by Henry Ford in 1903, making it one of the oldest car manufacturers in the world. The brand’s local subsidiary, Ford Australia, was founded in Geelong in 1925, and produced a number of Australian-made cars up until October 2016, when Ford officially closed its manufacturing plants.
In its early years, Ford rose to prominence on the back of its revolutionary Model T automobile (or Tin Lizzie), as it was one of the first cars not only to be mass produced, but one of the first to become attainable to the middle income earner. First built in 1908, Model Ts were first shipped out to Ford Australia as “complete knock-down” (CKD) kits in 1925.
Ford Australia, however, is credited with creating one of the most iconic Australian road cars of all time, the Ford Falcon. Originally an American creation, the Falcon was brought ‘down under’ to compete with Holden in the late 1950s, and was fine-tuned for local specifications. It went on to become one of Australia’s most iconic vehicles, forging a strong racing pedigree and gaining a cult following throughout the nation.
The current Ford range comprises of 12 models offered to consumers in Australia, ranging from the city-sized Fiesta (and its variants) up to the performance-oriented Mustang. Also included in the line-up are four commercial offerings, including the Transit and Transit Custom vans as well as the Falcon two-door and Ranger four-door utilities.
Despite being an American company with an Australian arm, the majority of Ford’s models offered locally are built overseas. The Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Ford Ranger and Ford Everest are currently manufactured in Thailand; the Ford EcoSport is built in India, while the Ford Mondeo and the Ford Escape are built in Spain. Ford’s performance models including the Ford Fiesta ST, the Ford Focus ST and the Ford Focus RS are built in Germany, however the company’s flagship muscle car, the Ford Mustang, remains American. Run-out models of the Ford Falcon, Ford Falcon Ute and the Ford Territory, which were discontinued in 2016, were all built in Australia.
In 2016, Ford was the fifth-highest selling car brand in the local market with 81,207 sales, while Ford’s best-selling model was the Thai-built Ford Ranger utility, making up almost half (36,934) of all Fords sold in Australia last year. While Ford Australia no longer manufactures its own vehicles, the company still remains one of the parent company’s three major global hubs for design and research and development (R&D). By 2018, it’s expected that Ford Australia will have up to 2000 employees, of which around 1750 will be engineers.
There are currently 12 Ford models offered in Australia, though some are in runout, such as the Australian-built Falcon (and ute) and Territory SUV which were discontinued in October 2016.
The Ford Fiesta is the company’s smallest offering. Sold in both three and five-door variants, the Fiesta is city car designed to be practical around the city while also light on fuel. The Ford Fiesta is offered in four levels of trim; the base model Fiesta Ambiente comes with a 1.5L four-cylinder petrol engine, five-speed manual transmission (with an option to upgrade to a six-speed dual clutch automatic) and 15” steel wheels, the step-up Fiesta Trend comes with alloy wheels and additional fog lamps, the Fiesta Sport features a turbocharged three-cylinder 1.0L petrol engine with a Sony sound system and other premium features, while the flagship Fiesta ST stakes its claim as one of the best value-for-money hot hatches on the market. It comes as a three-door variant only in Australia, and features a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder petrol engine which produces 134kW of power and 240Nm of torque.
The Ford Focus competes in the cut-throat small car segment against the likes of the Mazda 3 and the Toyota Corolla. Offered as both a five-door hatchback and a four-door sedan in the base Trend model and the Titanium model, the Sport model and two performance variants, the Focus ST and the Focus RS, are offered as hatch only options. Across the non-performance range, the Focus is offered with alloy wheels and a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 132kW of power and 240Nm of torque, while the Focus ST features a 2.0L turbocharged petrol engine producing 184kW or power and up to 360Nm of torque while in overboost. The hero model, the Ford Focus RS, receives all-wheel drive and a potent 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 257kW of power and up to 470Nm of torque.
Ford’s mid-size offering comes in the form of the Ford Mondeo. Available as a sedan or a wagon, the Ford Mondeo comes in three tiers; the base Ambiente, the mid-tier Trend and the top-tier Titanium. All three variants come with the choice of either a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine (which produces 149kW in the base Ambiente variation but 177kW in the Trend and Titanium models) or a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine which produces 132kW of power and 400Nm of torque.
The iconic Ford Falcon is a Ford model which has been a household name for almost 60 years in Australia. The quintessential large Aussie car, the Falcon is no longer made by Ford Australia, but is still found in Ford showrooms across the nation. Historically made in both a six-cylinder and an eight-cylinder variant, the Falcon has a strong racing pedigree and is still used by a number of teams in the V8 Supercars Championship. The final iteration of the Ford Falcon, the FG X, was made in a number of variants, including the ‘hero’ model, the XR8 Sprint which features a 5.0L supercharged eight-cylinder engine. Other variants used a 4.0L turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine, a naturally aspirated six-cylinder petrol engine, a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, and a six-cylinder gas variant. The Falcon Ute was also an iconic Australian Ford; the two-door, low-slung utility was also discontinued in 2016.
Ford’s performance flagship, the Ford Mustang returned to Australia in 2015 after a decade-long absence. Offered as both a convertible and a fastback, the American-made Ford Mustang came to Australia with two powerplant options. As of 2017, buyers can choose from the more traditional, throaty 5.0L naturally aspirated V8 engine producing 306kW and 530Nm, or the 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine also feature in Ford’s hot hatch, the Ford Focus RS.
The Ford EcoSport is a small SUV and currently the only model in Australia’s Ford range which is built in India. The Ford EcoSport competes with other small SUV in the Australian market such as the Mazda CX-3 and the Peugeot 2008. Based on the Ford Fiesta platform, the Ford EcoSport is offered in four different tiers with two engine options; a 1.5L naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine and a 1.0L turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine.
The Ford Escape is a relatively new model in the Ford range which replaced the Ford Kuga in 2016 in Australia. A medium SUV, the Ford Escape competes with the likes of the Toyota Rav4, the Honda CR-V and the Hyundai Tucson. The Ford Escape is offered with three powerplants; a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, and a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine. The Ford Escape is offered in three tiers: Ambiente, Trend and Titanium. Buyers can opt for either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with all engines.
The Ford Everest is a mid-to-full-size rear-wheel drive (or all-wheel drive) SUV which is based on the same platform as the Ford Ranger utility. Across the range, the Ford Everest features a 3.2L turbocharged five-cylinder diesel engine - the same one featured in the Ford Ranger - while where the Ranger’s tray would be, there are two additional seats.
The Ford Territory is an outgoing SUV model designed and built in Australia. Commonly used by Australian police forces, the seven-seat RWD or AWD SUV came with two engine options, a 4.0L inline six-cylinder petrol engine or a 2.7L turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine. The Ford Territory was last built in October 2016 but some models are still in runout.
The Ford Ranger is a four-door utility vehicle and is Ford Australia’s best-selling automobile. The Ford Ranger’s platform was also used to create the Ford Everest - a seven-seat SUV - and uses the same 3.2L turbocharged five-cylinder diesel engine in some models. The Ford Ranger comes in many tiers, including a 4x2 single cab variant, however the dual cab 4x4 pickup is the most popular.
The Ford Transit is a light commercial vehicle which comes in seven variants. Most commonly purchased as a van the Ford Transit can also be purchased as both a single cab and a dual cab utility vehicle, as well as a 12-seat bus, however all Transits come with the same 2.2L turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine.
Also expected to join the Ford line-up in 2018 is the Ford Edge, a seven-seat SUV aimed at replacing the hole left in the market by the discontinued Ford Territory.
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