Falcon Stays Home Grown...
Falcon stays homegrown“I think in many ways
what the success of the
Falcon demonstrates is
that if you get the details
right that configuration is
still very hard to beat in
the Australian market”
– Richard Parry-Jones '
By BRUCE NEWTON
TWO of Ford’s most senior global executives have clearly indicated the next generation Falcon will be based on an updated version of the local platform, rather than shifting to international architecture. There had been speculation prior to BA’s release that the next all-new Falcon could simply become a local adaptation of an overseas model and possibly even front-wheel drive.
But judging by interviews given to GoAuto at the Tokyo motor show by Richard Parry-Jones and Nick Scheele, the BA’s roaring success seems to have killed that prospect off. “Whenever the Falcon does as well as the Falcon is doing today it gives you pause for thought, whether we really need to change the fundamental strategy because it is amazing what you can do with attention to detail,” said Mr Parry-Jones, Ford’s vice-president in charge of global product development, and chief technical officer. “If it in’t broke why fix it? I know that might sound a little complacent but I think in many ways what the success of the Falcon demonstrates is that if you get the details right that configuration is still very hard to beat in the Australian market.” Ford Australia president Geoff Polites is not due to seek head office budget approval for the next generation Falcon until 2005, with a 2007 on-sale date currently pencilled in.
In response to questioning about Falcon’s export potential, Mr Scheele, president and chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company, said the car’s platform could not be adapted to left-hand drive and therefore had been ruled out of those markets long-term. Mr Scheele had confirmed early this year a plan to study Falcon export to the US and other left-hand drive markets. “(Left-hand drive) package protection would just be tearing up too much,” Mr Scheele said. “You would then be saying it’s an all-new plat-form and if you did an all-new platform you’d kill Falcon. “That’s how we set up the business plan (for Falcon), purely based on volumes that we saw in Australia and New Zealand, and it’s doing very well.”
Mr Parry-Jones said he would like to see the Territory cross-over’s all-wheel drive system be used for road-going Falcon models in the next generation, something that cannot be done with BA because it would jack up the ride height. “It’s certainly something you would look at because it would give you four-wheel drive utility, four-wheel drive sedan, four-wheel drive Territory, all within a very compact footprint of powertrain hardware,” he said.