Reading over my post again, it struck me as being a bit negative. I meant no offence. To balance things, here are the POSITIVE aspects of the AU, as I see them:
* It avoided a repeat of the EA quality issues by focusing on improving quality.
* Parts prices were reduced (how often does this happen on a new model?).
* Running costs were reduced, as was weight
* Engine efficiency and refinement were improved
* The ordinary handling of the EL (relative to its competitors) was addressed, and steering was first rate
* Co-efficient of drag was reduced to 0.29 - which is exceptional
Trouble is, there isn't much here that can be called 'revolutionary'. Now, here are some points to address:
Originally posted by RAPTOR
This was an attempt to attract younger private buyers as the Falcon was perceived as an old guys car or a taxi or fleet special.
If you look at the improvements made to the AU (reduced running costs, etc), the Forte was every inch a taxi. I stand by my criticism of the styling being too radical.
What about variable cam timing and the IRS which was/is still streets ahead of the Commodore. Also used new technology bake-hardenable panels to reduce weight. The AU was lighter, faster and more fuel effecient. I would have thought that would have given it a marketing edge over the new Commodore which was heavier, thirstier and slower.
VCT? IRS? I didn't know Forte came with that. I failed to make it clear that my criticisms were directed at the marketing of the Forte. The AU indeed was lighter, but the initally heavy VT Commodore went to Jenny Craig and lost serious kilos over time.
This was the dotcom era. The AU designation was an attempt to cash in on the computer/internet terminology as in dotcom.AU as the Australian car.
Even this doesn't answer the question of what the post-AU model was to be called. What I would have done is have the lettering system go backwards, as Holden did with its first cars.
Again an attempt to attract a younger buyer and set the car apart from the more conservative, higher spec models. Read some reviews from Wheels, Motor at the time of the AU release, they all sing the praises of the fresh styling of the Forte and say that will be the success story, Ha.
That they did. The cover of Wheels said "Holden should be worried". We can laugh now, knowing that this time that really is the case.
I've got nothing to add here.
I do. I should have mentioned that the AU II addressed many of my concerns. At the launch of the AU II, Ford said it was in the early stages of readying side airbags. No prizes for guessing which car will be the first to introduce them.
Apart from reskins what did XA/B/C add over XW/Y or for that matter XD/E/F over XC. The quantum leap has remained the EA-EL series IMHO. All this hype around Barra only serves to remind me the same thing existed at the release of AU. I only hope we can look back in a few years and see a better outcome.
I believe the EA was the biggest quantum leap of any Falcon. It also had the most problems. The AU Forte was the opposite in that it had few problems, and nothing in the way of major technological improvements.
The Barra combines a bit of each - quality and revolution. This is what Ford fans wanted to see all along.