Prodrive jumping in to bed with opposition!
Sad sad day when this happens.
<B>Prodrive prepares to come out from under the Ford umbrella</B>
25 September 2003
PRODRIVE, the company closely linked with Ford in Australia, is targetting other local manufacturers for automotive engineering and design work.
The company’s Asia-Pacific division will soon set up new headquarters in the Port Melbourne region, purposely within close proximity to Holden and Toyota’s headquarters.
Prodrive Asia-Pacific has been based at the same building in Campbellfield, Melbourne, as Ford Performance Vehicles, the Ford-Prodrive joint-venture that builds the GT, GT-P and Pursuit Ute and their unique 290kW 5.4-litre V8 engines.
Prodrive also owns and runs Ford Performance Racing, the big bucks V8 Supercar team that has entered the sport this year with Craig Lowndes as its lead driver.
Prodrive Asia-Pacific is 100 per cent owned by UK-owned Prodrive, which has performed engineering con******cy work for numerous manufacturers on a confidential basis.
While David Flint is the boss of Prodrive Asia-Pacific, the two key men at the head of the company’s structure reporting to him are business development manager Craig Hook and technical director Winfried Beilharz.
They started ramping up the company’s activities 12 months ago and expect to move into their new HQ in the next two months.
"We are looking to extend Prodrive’s influence into areas other than Ford," said Mr Flint.
"And if we are really serious about that, then we can’t do it from Campbellfield. We have got to do it from somewhere else and we have got to set up a separate operation which is seen to be totally independent from the one that is supporting FPV – and that is what we are trying to do."
Mr Flint admitted that Prodrive doing work for Holden would be “politically difficult” but would not rule it out.
"We are not pursuing Holden per se, but there’s Toyota, there’s Mitsubishi, there’s the importers, there’s a whole heap of customers other than Ford Motor Company," he said.
"And it doesn’t have to be an on-shore company. Australia is a really good base to be attacking Asia generally. The time difference is bugger all, there are some very good facilities here."
Prodrive Asia-Pacific already has an office in Bangkok where it designs accessories for the locally-manufactured Mazda/Ford B-Series and Courier.
FPV GAINING RESPECT
GoAuto has obtained sales figures that show the three-car Ford Performance Vehicles range is gaining the sort ofacceptance from V8 sports sedan fans that the AU-based Tickfords could never generate.
To the end of August, FPV had sold a total of 723 BA Falcon-based V8s, split between 307 GT-Ps, 301 GTs and 115 Pursuit Utes.
The company believes it will end the year with about 1500 sales, ramping up as production rates increase.
A direct comparison with hot Holden rival HSV is not straight-forward because there are more models in the latter’s line-up. HSV is aiming to end the year with close to 4000 sales.
The ClubSport and ClubSport R8, the direct rivals for GT and GT-P, will generate around 50 per cent of those sales, while the Maloo is another 14 per cent.
On that basis ClubSports would outsell the GT/GT-P combination by about 2:1. But FPV boss David Flint said that sales in recent months had actually been running lineball between the ClubSport and GT models.
"We are on budget, we have made a 1000 (since production started last year), we have the right number in stock, we’ve got the right number of carry-over orders, we are in good shape," said Mr Flint.
He said Pursuit was lagging behind Maloo, but FPV was considering a campaign to boost its sales.
Last edited by TurboDOHC; 09-24-2003 at 21:50.