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2008 Paris Motor Show: Falcon Put On Hold

Peter Robinson
3 October 2008
www.wheelsmag.com.au

From the floor - Ford insider has dropped a bombshell at today's Paris show media day, telling Robbo that even the Falcon is being re-evaluated.

Ford's new global rear wheel drive program, including the all-new Falcon due in 2013, is now "on hold" to raise further doubts about the long term future of the locally manufactured and designed Falcon.

The next Falcon was to be part of a massive new program to replace the old Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria with an all-new architecture to be jointly developed in Dearborn and Broadmeadows.

In July/August the then accelerating American financial crisis forced a complete re-evaluation of Ford's resources and lead to the current decision to prioritize development of a range of big front drive models based on existing platforms.

An ex-Ford designer (who commented on condition of anonymity) who worked on the program confirmed to Wheels that Ford has put the entire program "on hold".

"It was a global program, in which Australia played an important role. The decision for the Falcon was what form it would take and how much of the 'top hat" (body design) would be unique to the Falcon. They were looking at how to fit Falcon in with the American cars and to see if it could be exported to America.

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Ford Jury Remains Out On Front-Drive Falcon

Marton Pettendy & James Stanford
14 October 2008
www.goauto.com.au

New Ford Australia president confirms a front-wheel drive Falcon is under study.

A front-wheel drive Falcon remains the subject of intensive ongoing market research by Ford Australia, which will make a decision on the drivetrain configuration of its next-generation volume-seller in the “near future”.

That is the word from the Blue Oval’s new president in Australia, Marin Burela, who jetted in from London the night before last Thursday’s Sydney motor show opening to present Ford’s redesigned entry-level model, the European-built Fiesta, which will be sourced from Thailand in 2010.

The Broadmeadows-based brand’s new Croatian-born boss, who is in awe of the new FG Falcon G6E Turbo he drove during a two-day visit to Australia the previous week, is a 25-year Ford veteran who describes himself as a Geelong guy.

In his first local interview after introducing himself to Australian journalists at the Paris motor show on October 2, Mr Burela said Australia’s 48-year-old Falcon nameplate has “a special meaning” for him, but refused to commit to its traditional rear-drive layout beyond the current FG generation.

“I think rear-wheel drive has been very important to our customers in the past,” he said. “The question is: ‘Will it continue to be important to our customers going forward?’ And the honest answer is we don’t know.

“We are studying that, we’re looking at that. The one thing we do know is everywhere around the world, and Australia is not immune to that, people’s preferences are changing.

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Wow. That's truly disappointing. I wonder if this is soley due to CAFE/Fuel-eocnomy regulations or if its merely due to money and development costs?

Here is an idea: If this is solely due to money, then General Motor and FoMoCo should co-develop a large-RWD platform for the Buick Lucerne/DTS and Crown Vic/Town Car replacements!! Make it so!!!

:)
 

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If anything, Ford is way ahead when it comes to overall brand strategy (junking useless/deadweight brands) while GM is ahead on actual product. GM is pretty much dead in the water when it comes to brand strategy.
 

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Here is an idea: If this is solely due to money, then General Motor and FoMoCo should co-develop a large-RWD platform for the Buick Lucerne/DTS and Crown Vic/Town Car replacements!! Make it so!!!:)
That's scary. I wouldn't want Ford NA touching anything GM is going to use. Ford Au is pretty good, but if NA Ford gets involved then they will drag down the whole program. For example, compare the handling and chassis dynamics of the American engineered DEW98 Mustang to the G8 and upcoming Camaro (which will be in a another league versus the Mustang handling wise). If GM can make a hefty profit selling to Ford, then maybe think about it. But also consider that helping Ford build a competitive car will take sells from GM, when GM should be using this new Zeta as a death knell for Fords coffin.
 

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Guess this ends the stupid comments by some here that Ford was merely copying GM with rear wheel drive - GM used the most costly method possible to introduce a truly irrelavent product, the G8 and the Goat/Kanga, and wished Ford would do something as stupid. Sorry, Putz and Ole Wagoneer, Mulally is smarter than your entire Management staff - Mulally has done more in less time than the entire Putz/Wagoneer regime's tenure.

GM better be telling the truth about the Volt - their lunch is getting ready to be handed to them if they are lying about its range and performance.
 

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I think many of you miss the point of the decision here. Ford is going to (smartly, I might add) use its existing D platform and tooling to make its next generation large vehicles. Why develop a new RWD platform if it is going to cost billions more and it addresses a market that is small and already saturated?
 

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The falcon can be a direct replacement for the Crown Vic here. They could just even leave the name Falcon on too. I wonder why this idea is getting blackholed after they been spending so much time on it?
 

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I think many of you miss the point of the decision here. Ford is going to (smartly, I might add) use its existing D platform and tooling to make its next generation large vehicles. Why develop a new RWD platform if it is going to cost billions more and it addresses a market that is small and already saturated?
And the Taurus, Sable and MKS arent enough large FWD sedan entry's for Ford?
If the Falcon switches to FWD, then what's the point of the aforementioned 3?
 

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Wow. That's truly disappointing. I wonder if this is soley due to CAFE/Fuel-eocnomy regulations or if its merely due to money and development costs?

Here is an idea: If this is solely due to money, then General Motor and FoMoCo should co-develop a large-RWD platform for the Buick Lucerne/DTS and Crown Vic/Town Car replacements!! Make it so!!!

:)
i think ford and gm ought to do that for RWD sedans and a minivan chassis / platform as well.
 

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RWD is obviously only going to be for niche cars. Luxury or sports cars. Let just hope Mustang and Camaro can soldier on. Not even 5000 Mustangs sold last month is not a good sign. How many 300s and Chargers did they sell in September? Lets just hope there continues to be a RWD offering out there for the common man. I fear someday only expensive luxury vehicles will come as RWD.
 

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Wow. That's truly disappointing. I wonder if this is soley due to CAFE/Fuel-eocnomy regulations or if its merely due to money and development costs
Both. Ford can't really afford to develop a dedicated platform for small markets anymore and CAFE (and fuel costs) made the choice of FWD and Ecoboost V6s over RWD and Boss V8s.

And the Taurus, Sable and MKS arent enough large FWD sedan entry's for Ford?
If the Falcon switches to FWD, then what's the point of the aforementioned 3?
Falcon is a ford Australia/ New Zealand nameplate. It will probably be affixed to a RHD variant of the Taurus. The Sable is probably gone and the MKS is near lux/lux.
 

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RWD is obviously only going to be for niche cars. Luxury or sports cars. Let just hope Mustang and Camaro can soldier on. Not even 5000 Mustangs sold last month is not a good sign. How many 300s and Chargers did they sell in September? Lets just hope there continues to be a RWD offering out there for the common man. I fear someday only expensive luxury vehicles will come as RWD.
The tougher CAFE regulations were that day.
 

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Mercury's largest cars will likely be the Mariner and Milan, after Ford has said they intend to make Mercury a compact brand to complement Lincoln's larger offerings, with some crossover in the mid-size.

As for RWD...you suppose Ford could keep the current Falcon's platform around a little longer and adapt that to international use?
 

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The Falcon platforn is already pretty old, currently it is just an update of the 1997 AU platform, which itself was a heavily revised version of the 1998 EA platform so keeping it around probably isn't viable any longer. I understand there are some valid points with changing to FWD, but I'd like to see it stay RWD and surely with a platform sharing situation between it, the Mustang and the Crown Vic there would be a viable way to do this. Hell, throw a few Lincoln and Mercury products in the mix too to further extend the platforms reach. Large RWD cars aren't dead yet, but manufacturers simply need to be more clever abvout how they develop them.
 
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