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Old 11-08-2001, 00:46   #1 (permalink)
 
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Raptor Article

Ford Australia president Geoff Polites will return from the US this week with news on the Raptor four-wheel-drive Falcon project for which sources suggest he has secured tentative approval.
The ambitious project is a key component of Ford Australia?s five-year business plan for which Polites is seeking approval at the company?s global headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

Sources have suggested the Raptor project was all but signed off following preliminary discussions between Polites and Ford executives at the Tokyo Motor Show last month.

However, the recent sudden departure of Ford?s global boss, Australian Jacques Nasser, has raised questions about the project. US reports say that new CEO William Clay Ford Jnr might halt initiatives started by his predecessor in an attempt to shift the car maker?s focus back to more traditionally successful products.

During a news conference last week at Ford Motor Company's headquarters, Ford Jnr told reporters that "everything's up for review". He refused to reveal, however, which ? if any ? programs could be jettisoned.

Polites, who was unavailable for comment, has previously stressed that major product decisions aren't made by individuals. And while indications are said to be positive following a recent meeting between Polites and Ford executives in Tokyo, Nasser's sudden departure is believed to have further jeopardised the project.


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The Raptor project was said to be close to Nasser's heart.

Four-wheel-drives are enjoying a long-lived sales boom in Australia and accounting for almost one in five new car sales.

Arch-rival Holden has already confirmed production of its own 4WD wagon based on its top-selling Commodore range. It could be on the road as early as 2003.

Just as Holden and Ford passenger cars are so similar in specification, expect plenty of similarities with the off-road variants should the Raptor go ahead.

Like the Holden, the Raptor will use an all-new bodyshell boasting bolder, more aggressive styling than the Falcon wagon it is based on. The Raptor is also expected to offer three rows of seats on some models.

The choice of powerplants will also be similar. Holden will offer its V6 and V8s, while the Raptor is expected to come with the choice of an in-line six-cylinder or the all-new 5.4-litre V8 that will arrive in next year?s facelifted AV Falcon, codenamed "Barra".

One thing in the Raptor's favour is the fact that the business case for the proposed model has been costed entirely for Australian consumption ? and funded locally ? meaning the sales volumes needed for the model to succeed are substantially smaller than for a model planned for export duties.

However, Ford Australia has previously hinted that the Raptor could appeal to various export markets.

An official decision about the Raptor?s future is expected before the end of the year. If it is given the go-ahead, expect the production version to hit the streets about 2004.

Polites, however, isn?t just arguing the Raptor?s case to his US superiors. Also on the table is Ford Australia?s aforementioned five-year business plan, which includes proposals for an all-new Falcon due about 2005/06.

If the Raptor does get the thumbs-up, then it would seem likely that the upcoming Falcon would also be approved because it would be built alongside the vehicle.
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Old 11-08-2001, 00:58   #2 (permalink)
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Interesting stuff Ian!! Ol Billy Ford Jr has got to decide exactly what he wants - new innovate exciting products, or tried-and-true products that sell volume.

I'm a bit worried about his approach - it tends to make him look like he'll cut the cake any which way that suits him.. firstly he says :


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Originally said by the man himself in a memo
This business is about one thing and one thing only - great products - and everything else we do must play a supporting role to this single-minded and uncompromising objective. Therefore, I promise you that we will let nothing divert our complete focus on the automobile business. Yes, we are going back to basics.

We have spent far too much time lately being on the defensive, and I know this has been as painful for you as it has been for me. Now it's time we regain our confidence and take the offensive. I am very, very positive about our future. With your help we can achieve our goal of being the best automobile company in the world. I want to get back to producing great cars and trucks, and to having fun doing so.
... and then we hear :

Quote:
US reports say that new CEO William Clay Ford Jnr might halt initiatives started by his predecessor in an attempt to shift the car maker?s focus back to more traditionally successful products.
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but how can "great products" be entirely developed with a focus on the past? It's all a bit unnerving.. particularly of how he may approach Geoff's 5 year plan.
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Old 11-08-2001, 01:02   #3 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by el2xr8

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but how can "great products" be entirely developed with a focus on the past? It's all a bit unnerving.. particularly of how he may approach Geoff's 5 year plan.
No correction needed.
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Old 11-08-2001, 03:20   #4 (permalink)
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All this sucking up to US MANAGEMENT is BS!!! Geoff should be handed a signed blank cheque, he knows what will work in AUS, not some CEO sitting in his leather recliner over in the US.
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Old 11-08-2001, 04:41   #5 (permalink)
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I was always warried about the inevitable. Go and eat another hotdawg you capatilist seppo. You dont have a clue how the Australian people like their cars so dont think we are the stupid ones, just relaise how STOOPID you really are if you dont sign the dotted lines. NUFF said.
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Old 11-08-2001, 04:45   #6 (permalink)
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Great article Ian. Thanks for the read.
It's about time it got approved.
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Old 11-08-2001, 06:49   #7 (permalink)
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Tauras, AU and AU Fairlane LTD are designs that we hav'nt liked yet and only someone like Geoff knows what we want as Jem and Cobra said. GM give Holden the $ and they have near sunken Ford for good in this country if Ford US are serious about being the worlds no 1 they will not be the first of the big 4 to stop producing in Australia because their cars werent selling because they thought they knew it all where they themselves knew nothing about this market and tryd to shortcut on spending. It needs to be a blank cheque with Geoff spending whatever is needed to be the best hands down including extra $ for Tickford! By the way i know ive said it before but that V6 had better not be 3.8 because that sounds wrong in a Falcon IMO particually now Holdens new V6 will keep that capacity.
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Old 11-08-2001, 12:24   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by JEM
All this sucking up to US MANAGEMENT is BS!!! Geoff should be handed a signed blank cheque, he knows what will work in AUS, not some CEO sitting in his leather recliner over in the US.
Here here.. The guys at Ford HQ really new what we wanted with the AU didn't they..
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Old 11-08-2001, 13:31   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by JEM
All this sucking up to US MANAGEMENT is BS!!!
Just remember that if it wasn't for the US management, there'd be no 250kW engines in the new T-Series, thus no 220kW in the XR8s! In this project, I believe they pretty much handed Polites a blank cheque and just "Just go ahead and do it" as they realised how much street cred the Ford vehicles lacked compared to competitors (ie. Holdens in particular).
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Old 11-08-2001, 15:09   #10 (permalink)
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hey dont knock us YANKS. Some of us are trying to better the market for you Aussie's :crazy1:
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