Don't know if anybody has seen this one. The "Walsh" Report is an interesting read:dead: Surely he should give more credit to Ford and their designers!!!
Ford says its new BA Falcon is less polarising but not less distinctive than the car it replaces
By MARTON PETTENDY 17 July 2002
BA FALCON designer Simon Butterworth admits Ford has made Falcon better proportioned and less offensive in an attempt to appeal to a wider cross-section of buyers than its ill-fated AU predecessor.
But Ford Australia's director of design stopped short this week of calling it less distinctive, scoffing at claims the BA Falcon design has similarities to both the current and forthcoming Commodore.
"I wouldn't say less distinctive, just less polarising - which is a good thing," he said at the reveal of the BA earlier this week.
"We've got the proportions and stance right now, which should suit the majority of people.
"Sometimes people don't know why they like a car, but in this one they'll recognise it has a premium, more elegant look. It's an elegant but athletic and sporty looking vehicle with tremendous road presence that will have great longevity and wide appeal."
Mr Butterworth, who pulled the covers off the BA and was previously responsible for design elements of the Jaguar S-Type, X-Type and XK8 replacement, admits the BA Falcon is positioned closer to Ford's long-wheelbase sedans.
But he says there will still be plenty of differentiation between both long and short-wheelbase models, and mainstream models themselves - but not by using different bonnets as with AU.
"We want Forte buyers to be proud - even entry level vehicles will sit on the road well and have good presence," he said.
"From a design perspective, this is a new vehicle. It has a premium look to it because the basic dimensions are right. It looks like it means business.
"There are some really major changes to the underpinnings, such as wheelbase and track, and the way the sheetmetal has been pulled out over the wheels at either side to give it a more muscular presence."
Mr Butterworth said particular attention had been paid to cleaning up Falcon's exterior via the removal of the antenna and windscreen washers.
"The clean, contemporary surface language combined with simple, geometric line work and great attention to detail gives the car a solid, premium look of refined power," he said.
"A major contributor to that look is the proportion of the vehicle - or the relationship of the wheels to body, the height from the ground and the front and rear overhangs.
"Its clean, elegant look, great proportions and attention to detail identify it as a product of genuine quality."
The Walsh report:
We asked automotive designer and illustrator Bernie Walsh about his thoughts on the styling of the Falcon. Here's his view on the convergence of home-grown large car design between Holden and Ford.
"IT'S obviously less polarising but they've elected to go backwards - they've gone for a safe design that's less contemporary.
"From a marketing perspective, however, perhaps it would have been better to have done that without going so close to what Holden's doing (with VY Commodore).
"The shape of the quad lamps is basically the same, as is the single-opening grille and the wide-opening bumper air-dam.
"In fact, the only thing stopping it being a straight lift of the next Commodore is the tail-lights, which look like they're off the current Commodore.
"To the average person, the main visual difference between the next Commodore and Falcon will be the badging. Maybe it's a case of if you can't beat 'em, join 'em: clean up what we've got until you bring out a completely new car with different proportions."
Why BA's been revealed
FORD'S official reason for revealing the dramatically updated 2003 Falcon - and much of its new technology - up to three months before its launch is that about 260 undisguised Field Evaluation Unit cars are about to hit the road.
Ford president Geoff Polites said at the reveal of BA this week he would prefer the public see pictures of a clean, well-lit Fairmont Ghia than fuzzy shots of grubby test cars, and believes much of the sheer volume of new details about the new model would go unnoticed without controlling the release of information.
"It's a very unique set of circumstances," said Mr Polites.
"Firstly, it's the most talked about launch of this year and we needed to stagger the release of information just to get it all out there. In a normal launch a lot of those details simply wouldn't have been mentioned.
"We want to run those cars out on the open road and they will be photographed.
"That's not the way we want the new Falcon to be seen, so in a way it's a controlled spy shot. We balanced it all out and think it has a lot more newness about it than a traditional mid-life facelift, so it merits a well planned and executed launch."
But it is clear Ford also hopes to out-publicise Holden's facelifted VY Commodore and a new 380N Camry from Toyota, which has already followed Ford's lead by revealing detailed chassis information about the new Camry.
While the Camry is expected to go on sale in early September, latest information is that Commodore will not go on sale until the end of September - a few weeks before the crucial BA Falcon's release.
"I think Toyota will be in the market before us. I thought Holden would beat us too, but now I'm not so sure," Mr Polites said.
Holden admits concern about BA
HOLDEN is "concerned" about the threat posed by the new BA Falcon. But while senior executives expect the new Ford to close the sales gap to the Commodore, they do not expect it to take over market leadership.
Ford revealed the BA's exterior on Monday, months ahead of its October launch, but Holden is keeping its VY update shuttered until much closer to its late September on-sale date.
Holden chief Peter Hanenberger went as far as to describe himself as "concerned" about BA, but added: "I was very concerned when the Avalon came out too.
"We are always setting ourselves up for the worst. And once you are set up for the worst, you have very little surprises and you are usually very well prepared."
"The concern we have at the moment is that there's an excellent product, excellent specification, excellent looks and so on.
"Now we are going to start to analyse what we have seen and that's why I am still concerned until I understand the full product."
Holden business strategy and planning executive director Ian McCleave said: "Our belief is we have the right strategy in all areas to hold market leadership because it's not just a product issue - all the things associated with branding and distribution I think we have in pretty good shape at the moment.
"We have the product with VY to match BA. We might think about some possible changes going out another two years to see if we have to address anything.
"But I think we have time to see how the market views BA and then make any other adjustments two years down the road from VY. The powertrain is one area I am particularly interested in because I don't understand exactly what BA is going to have in its line-up."
That timing would mean changes around VZ II or the all-new VE model expected in 2005. The new High-Feature V6 is due then and the Gen IV V8 replacement for the current Gen III.
Um, what has this guy been on? An elephant looks a lot like the space shuttle too...
In fact, the only thing stopping it being a straight lift of the next Commodore is the tail-lights, which look like they're off the current Commodore.
This is such a terrible comment, I'm just going to use pictures. Admittedly, they are close, but... remember we know what the BA will look like, but only really have the Cross8 to go on for the VY, which looks like it could be more than a little different from the new model.
To the average person, the main visual difference between the next Commodore and Falcon will be the badging. Maybe it's a case of if you can't beat 'em, join 'em: clean up what we've got until you bring out a completely new car with different proportions.
I believe that the falcon and commodore have had "similarities" almost since the beginning, BUT, damn straight, Falcon will always come out on top.
Actually I got to the third paragraph and thought "Not surprised! Look its some halfwit commodore lover who's out to pull some shite on the Barra. Just because he's jealous of the Barra doesn't mean he can TRY and speak for the population."
But I guess there's gonna be at least some people like that.
My comment back to that article is the same a what Polites would probably say:
"Just wait a few months and let the specs and populatity tell the country what they think of the Barra and how it REALLY compairs to the Commodore!".
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