I can see why Ford would look at having a live axel on the Forte.
Taxi and hi-mileage uses and load carriers like the good tire wear, low cost maintaince, low cost purchase over IRS. Live axel on the base wagon for the same reason, and IRS on the Ute is debateable anyway certianly on the base version live axel could live a little longer.
Personally I think the forte should have IRS, and the live being offered only on "Taxi packs" with beefed up alternators etc . But who knows?
Dam it I think Ford should just bite the bullet and get six speed manuels and 5 speed auto's. Neither of Fords engines are known for being revy, so extra cogs are needed. For the 6 cylinder in particular, and the extra for economy on the 8..
The 4.0 is often critised for being thrashy, well with a Six speed manuel you will never have to have it thrash for long, and a five speed auto will have more to play with in reducing NVH.
The LS1 is pretty darn economical, no doubt in part to the moonshot 6th, but still it adds to the appeal, Holden can increase performance simply by sticking in a lower diff, and it doesn't do anything to economy.
Ford will eventually need a six speed manuel and a five speed auto, and new gearboxes to deal with the new engines, why not get them sooner.
I know what most people would pick between a hot XR6 with a six speeder and Commodore S with a auto only. And fuel consumption with V8's are a issue, if someone offered you better economy, more gears to play with and no performance decrease what would you choose?
Getrag and other ford resources should be used now. Ford has the ability, it is just simply lacking the will power.
Holden has a 6 speed, Magnas have 5 speed autos, Ford is already behind, hopefully something is on the way.