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Old 01-31-2002, 18:36   #1 (permalink)
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Ford article

Nothing ground breaking but a good read.

Quote:
FORD FIGHTBACK COMING
Friday, 1 February 2002
By EWAN KENNEDY


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The traditional Ford versus Holden battle hasn't been interesting of late, with Holden winning with monotonous regularity on the sales front. Ford has taken some real knocks recently but is preparing to fight back.

For a start, Ford is completely renovating major sections of its factories in preparation for what may be its busiest-ever year from a major-new-model point of view. Instead of the annual close-down of its Melbourne plants over the Christmas period, some 1000 Ford employees worked long hours to install new equipment and modify old gear. Ford will spend around $174 million by the end of the year, so this is a major project.

Some other journalists and I have just spent several hours on a guided tour of the revamped Broadmeadows' plant. Company president, Geoff Polites, considered the event important enough to come along with our group. His pride in what is happening is obvious and so is that of the many factory floor supervisors and workers we were able to chat to.

These guys are also proud that Ford's Australian factory is now the best in the Ford world in several aspects. In particular, the guys in head office in the USA are amazed at the ability of the Aussies to think laterally to keep costs down and to re-use and adapt old equipment that would be junked in most other Ford factories.

At present the new equipment is being used to build the AU Falcon and improve the standards of fit of its components. But the changes have been made for a much more important reason - to prepare the factory to make the upcoming new Falcon. Code-named Barra, the new Falcon will be a major revamp of the AU and is expected to have completely different styling front and rear as well as a new interior design.

Details of the new Falcon are being kept close to Ford's corporate chest for obvious reasons. But we were able to glean from looking at the new equipment and from sighting some drawings that underbody changes will result in a substantially stronger structure. This will mean added protection in a crash, improved handling and greater in-cabin refinement.

Even more interesting, the new equipment will be used to build Ford Australia's new 4WD vehicle. Again details are almost non-existent, all that Ford will say at this stage is that its now model will be launched in 2004 and will be significantly different to anything else on the road.


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Old 01-31-2002, 19:16   #2 (permalink)
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