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100% Speeding (when safe)
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Radical 2003 Falcon overhaul
First Published: The Age
Thursday, March 9, 2000




By KEVIN NORBURY

The heavily facelifted successor of the Falcon AU II, due on Australian roads in about two years (2003, according to local Ford bosses), will be a radically different car to the AU.

It will look bigger, have more "old style" Falcon it it, but retain its New Edge design, according to the Ford Motor Company´s boss of styling.

But J Mays, Ford´s vice-president, design, revealed during a news conference at the motor show in Geneva that the new car, which had already been built, had a more refined, upmarket quality about it "in terms of its overall impression" and it looked more like an Australian car.

"To my mind, it looks more like an Australian proportion now," he said. "When you see it from the front or the rear, it looks wider. To me that´s one of the signatures of what Ford Falcons were - low, wide front and rear view. We´ve got all that back into it. I´m very happy with the vehicle."

The comments by J Mays follow a barrage of criticism of the new AU that reached such levels following its launch 18 months ago that Ford was forced into introducing the AU II, an earlier and more comprehensive update than planned, to revive sales.

Mays said that in the radically facelifted version, Ford designers had redressed the criticism that the AU looked too small. "It (the revamped car) is on the same platform, but it´s visually bigger," he said. "It´s the same length, it´s the same width, but it´s not the same width at the ends."

But, he said, because the car (likely to be called either AV or the AX) was still two years away he didn´t want to get into what it represented. "We heard that the car didn´t look big enough, we didn´t think it had as much Ford Falcon DNA in it as it could have, and because of the design I like, I wanted it to look more expensive and upmarket. I think we have addressed all of those issues," he said.

The size perspective of the car had been increased at the back "significantly" and at the front. "I think it´s radically different, but I think you´ll recognise it. We haven´t thrown the baby out with the bathwater. We´ve kept quite a lot of the car, but we´ve improved in areas where we didn´t think we were as successful as maybe we could have been."

Even the grille looked more upmarket. "The interior is more upmarket, too. We´ve rethought things where you probably thought we should have. I think we have made significant improvements where there were problems."

The design of the much-maligned "droopy" back end has also been changed.

"I think you will like this car. It´s a very solid design. In some ways you might even say it is more conservative than the present vehicle. But I say that in a positive way. It´s got a lot of integrity, the car we have just completed."

He said of the Falcon: "We are trying to define a design consistency world wide among Ford products in terms of three segments of the market. I´m just talking about blue oval here, not the other brands, not Lincolns, not Jaguar, not Volvo.

"You´ve got vehicles in Europe like the next generation Mondeo, which picked up on the design DNA of the Focus, a new Fiesta, which also does that. You´ve got the next generation of big sedans in the US, which also pick up on New Edge DNA, and you´ve got the Falcon, which will retain that design DNA as well."
 

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Ford Europe Wannabe
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ED Manual,

what happened to the rest of the pics you were getting developed? Can us FF folk see them?

Were any of the mags interested?
 
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