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Your $42m splashed on Eco Falcon

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    Ford is getting a fraction of the government business compared with its Australian car making rivals.

Taxpayer dollars on cars some government fleets don't buy.

Taxpayers have pumped $42 million into two Ford “eco” cars that fail to meet the environmental criteria for some state government fleets.

In a major embarrassment to the Federal Government’s “Green Car Fund for a Greener Future”, the four-cylinder Falcon and the diesel Territory fall outside the purchasing requirements for many state government departments because their emissions are too high or too toxic. It means the government isn’t buying a car that it invested heavily in.

Ford employees bought more than twice as many four-cylinder Falcons than has the government (300 versus 115 cars) – and private buyers have also outspent public office (121 sales), according to confidential figures to the end of November.

Rather than investing to upgrade the cars, Ford is leading the charge to scrap the Green Vehicle Guide star-rating system – the benchmark used by business and government fleets when assessing which cars to buy.

Ford is getting a fraction of the government business compared with its Australian car making rivals Holden and Toyota. The most recent figures show Ford sold 3300 locally-made cars to state governments across Australia compared with Toyota’s tally of 4100 deliveries and Holden’s order book of 9200 cars.

That’s presumably because most of Ford’s locally-made models fall below the cut-off as they have higher air pollution ratings. Ford sold 14,000 Falcons last year; Mitsubishi sold 11,000 sedans in its last full year on sale before its Adelaide factory closed in 2008.

Only one of the three new Fords developed with $42 million taxpayer dollars – the most basic LPG Falcon – earns a high enough rating to make it onto the purchasing lists for some government departments across Australia.

For example, NSW state fleet has a minimum “pollution” and “greenhouse” score of 13.5 (out of 20) for all but emergency vehicles. But the four-cylinder Falcon (13 out of 20) and diesel Territory (9 out of 20) don’t make the cut-off. The new LPG Falcon does comply, scoring 15 out of 20.

Government fleets are allowed to buy vehicles below this score, but if they do they won’t meet their environmental targets.

Late last year the Federal Government appointed William Angove, the former boss of Ford in Indonesia, to encourage government departments to buy more locally-made cars.

Twitter: @JoshuaDowling


Percentage of sales to government of locally made cars (January to November 2012)

Ford Falcon four-cylinder: 7 per cent (115 sales)

Ford Falcon six-cylinder: 9 per cent (1132 sales)

Ford Territory: 10 per cent (1424 sales)

Holden Cruze: 13 per cent (3593 sales)

Holden Commodore: 16 per cent (4528 sales)

Holden Caprice: 20 per cent (276 sales)

Toyota Camry: 13 per cent (3223 sales)

Toyota Aurion V6: 11 per cent (876 sales)


Percentage of Australian-made cars compared with the rest of the market

2005: 248,912 of 988,269 = 25 pc

2006: 201,623 of 962,666 = 20.9 pc

2007: 200,485 of 1,049,982 = 19 pc

2008: 171,432 of 1,012,164 = 16.9 pc

2009: 147,680 of 937,328 = 15.7 pc

2010: 146,314 of 1,035,574 = 14.1 pc

2011: 141,939 of 1,008,437 = 14.0 pc

2012: 139,796 of 1,112,032 = 12.5 pc



Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 47 comments

  • the problem isnt poor journalism its that aussies including the ford workers arent buying fords (or holdens or toyotas with their workers) in many cases because they cant but those that can dont. only 300 employees bought one of the best reviewed falcons ever built. Sure joshua might be useless but just a question, of the comments here blaming josh how many of you drive a ford? the government is stuck with obviously buying based on a system that needs updating when a ecoboost isnt good enough. having said that its fuel figure (official-as they use) is only 8.5, nothing brilliant. my 1998 magna v6 manual and 1995 camry manual both managed 9 or less in real world driving constantly, so its not a great improvement for all the years of technology difference. Somehow they need to decrease the weight of the aussie cars to lower further the fuel use. I currently drive a 2003 commodore and even it can manage 10.5 in mixed and around 7.5 on the highway-measured by filling the tank not the useless trip computer. so as I said- 10 years. if u put the fancy 6 speed on the old vy3.8 id probably get as good or better then the 3.0sidi too.

    chris of Wagga Posted on 12 January 2013 10:17am
  • WTF.. are you thinking we are all believing this Golden Book Story. FFS the Media once again has a lot to answer for, including our economy. You should be ashamed, and embarrassed, you licenced troll...

    Jason Leggo of Melb Posted on 11 January 2013 1:30pm
  • Surely your deplorable actions can not continue Mr Dowling. Why do you continue to beat Ford while they are down? Surely you can see this is a dishonourable practice? Funny I don't see anything about Commodore's severe lack of anything comparably "eco" to Falcon. Nothing Commodore has is a patch on EcoBoost. But let's not use facts... they take away from a story that has good sales, and page hits don't they Mr Dowling?

    Brody Posted on 10 January 2013 2:32pm
  • JD, Have you actually compared fuel consumption and emmissions yourself. Go do so and then right an article on what you find. Instead of using Green Vehicle Guide that is wayyy wrong.

    Brad Wills of NZ Posted on 10 January 2013 1:30pm
  • Following on...Living in Indonesia, both the Falcon and Commodore would do better here than most of the local offerings: Corollas are fine, but the roads here kill anything of that size, and the usual taxi here is a Toyota Vios (Echo/Yaris old models which are still sold here)! Naturally a Yaris with 900,000 km the clock, as many do here (I know of one with 1.8 million) is a testament to the core engineering, but bear in mind none of these are remotely roadworthy by Australian standards, and I cannot help but think that a Falcon or Commodore would work well here...but the government here would never allow anything that big. Hell even running costs (ULP at 50 cents/litre) would be okay by expat standards!

    Shebs of Batam, Kepri, Indonesia...for now Posted on 10 January 2013 1:23pm
  • All Australian car manufacturers are propped up: Toyota takes our money eagerly for dud projects, Holden takes it to pay it's workers (well, not officially, but the unions run that show), and Ford takes it to stay afloat. All three have taken the taxpayers dosh for all the others reasons too, as did Mitsubishi. The idea that governments must buy local is impractical, and won't happen. The Commodore is hampered by weak engines, especially the 3.0 Litre which cannot perform competently and get good economy, and there is never going to be a viable diesel option in the Commodore or FG Falcon. The Ford IL6 is old, but has some grunt, is adaptable, but likely a dead duck for really stringent emissions requirements, especially as sales cannot justify adapting it. Can't say my experiences with a Territory would entice my buying dollars again either. Toyota has a future based on it's imports: the Camry has slowed, and the Aurion has even more so. The Cruze is okay, but people buy Corollas and Mazda 3's instead. The hybrid Camry is a sales failure yet garnered much in the way of taxpayer dollars again.

    Shebs of Batam, Kepri, Indonesia...for now Posted on 10 January 2013 1:14pm
  • Ahh, Joshua Gover strikes again.....

    The Elitist Posted on 09 January 2013 3:19pm
  • I'm a die hard Holden man but I am growing tired of the anti australian car vibe that the journo's seem to spit out these days. Holden, Toyota and Ford all produce cars in the country that will be suit most government needs so why aren't the Govenrment dpeartments being steered towards those cars, any Australian made car should at the top of their lists. The Govenrment bangs on about how importment the manufacturing sector is to this country so they should be supporting it by buying something locally made. This article should not of been aimed at Ford it should of been aimed at the Green Vehicle Guide and Governements that aren't supprting Australian manufacturing and buying imports when there are Australian made cars that can fill those roles.

    Goerge of Australia Posted on 09 January 2013 12:53pm
  • Just to clarify, you say this in your article: "Ford sold 14,000 Falcons last year; Mitsubishi sold 11,000 sedans in its last full year on sale before its Adelaide factory closed in 2008." Seeing it is just such a sweeping statement ..... could you please ADD the amount of Australian produced Territory built then compare this to Mitsubishi? Could you also inform the readers on the profitability comparison between Ford Au (today) and Mitsubishi (2008) per vehicle? Did Mitsu close shop for what reason? Why is Ford Au continuing and have committed to continue manufacturing for some time yet in AU? Do you have the profit reports on privately sold Fords vs profit when sold to Govco agencies? Was Mitsubishi's down fall selling to private or corporate and what was the mix before they closed? Don't blame the media for reporting the facts? When the facts read like Swiss cheese to suit some agenda ...... well you get the idea.

    Dave of Melbourne Posted on 09 January 2013 11:13am
  • Very poor journalism with only biased 'facts' chosen. The VE commodore (a gus guzzling, oil using lemon) is rarely criticized by Mr Dowling. The 3.0 commodore is a waste of time and money and drinks like a sailor, yet outsells the Fords in Govt sales. Perhaps Mr Dowling could research why Govt's buy a vehicle that is inherently worse for the environment than the Falcon. Perhaps why the green ratings are flawed and why the alloytec v6 rarely achieves the fuel consumption and C02 figures of 'official testing results.' Applaud Ford for having 6 variants of locally built engines (petrol 4.0, lpg 4.0, 4.0 turbo, FPV 4.0 turbo, FPV 315, FPV 335) plus world class diesel and ecoboost engines - all on a shoestring budget. Applaud Toyota for continuing to manufacture vehicles in this country. Applaud Holden for their successes. Encourage readers to try these Australian cars so they can see how well they suit our conditionas and how well they compare to imports. If you're going to sink the boot in, try picking on flawed Govt ratings, the loss of reliable AS2877 data and why bigwigs at Ford haven't had a decent TV advertisement for a decade.

    crunch bunty of Brisbane Posted on 09 January 2013 11:00am
  • for gooness sakes, is their no objectivity amongst you writers. you constantly smash locally produced vehicles and deride (undeservedly) their products. It is shocking that such obvious and predjudicial and judgement is allowed into print. Please stop writing this rubbish.

    Dave of Gawler Posted on 09 January 2013 10:38am
  • Government public service burocracy at work. The senseless waste of taxpayers money yet again. Pink batts, School halls, mining tax, ford cars that do not comply with governments own standards. Just ignore this government crap and buy a car you like and can afford.

    wayne gibbons of Australia Posted on 09 January 2013 9:47am
  • who really buys are car based on how much pollution it makes?? 99% of people who go one about pollution cause more when they catch planes or trains too places then what any 351 powered V8 falcon ever did. Charlie Wilson good work!! if I could afford too buy a new falcon or territory I would do my bit too!!! why is there so much media biased towards falcon. you say falcons did all the time but where is the source coming from??? ford have made no desission on falcon yet. stop trying too cause another 380 and have another Australian manufacturing plant go just because of some issue with ford. I thought journos were meant too be unbiased??

    mick of toowoomba Posted on 08 January 2013 10:10pm
  • wow...did your try damage control....the falcon pic is back instead of the lemon. hope your ashamed jd ;[

    1tuffute of aus ford forums Posted on 08 January 2013 9:55pm
  • Just asked myself.... and I've bought 7 brand new vehicles in the last 10yrs, 5 were Ford or FPV and 2 imports (purely as there wasn't a locally made equivalent) So, I do consider I'm doing my bit.

    Charlie Wilson of Caroline Springs Posted on 08 January 2013 3:47pm
  • I think If the car too polluting, why do we sell it here? Get them off the roads. All cars need to pass a certain emmisions standard to be sold here. Euro 4 or something (with tougher 5 and 6 on their way in a years to come). Surely, if a car is clean enough for our new car market the govt. departments should have no enviromental reason not to buy one. What purpose is there for governments not to buy a local made car, when it is clean enough for sale. I can see no reason why the Asutralian Govt, should not be buying Australian made cars.

    Dave S of dowickg and Posted on 08 January 2013 3:27pm
  • Sick and tired of journos white anting the Australian manufacturing industries. My work colleagues and I make parts for Aussie cars, medical devices and aircraft so Joshua is trying his best to burn the house down while we are building it. Journos and politicians, Love 'em...NOT.

    Bill Mullen of Melbourne. Posted on 08 January 2013 3:06pm
  • Oh Joshua please dont try the prescious route. You clearly aimed the article at Ford as if they had wasted $42 million, completely ignoring that it also funded the diesel introdcution to the Territory and saw EcoBoost Flacon win car of the year. While conveniently ignoring the fact that Holden received over $200 million at the same time. The article should have been about the fact that the governments Green Guide somehow penalises a car that uses less fuel and generates less CO2 emissions than an Aurion yet receives a lower star rating than the Toyota? That should have been the story but you ignored it got cheap shots at Ford instead. I have read your blog and your comments below and I'm sorry to say you have been failry and squarley called out by the public today for writting misguided and misleading articles. Your cherry picking of the facts and sensationalist headlines speak volumes. As your the "don't shoot the media" line, who do you think starts these rumours and misconceptions in the market place? Your job is to provide the facts and the truth, something you simply cant seem to do when Ford are involved.

    XW GT of Sector 9 Posted on 08 January 2013 2:58pm
  • As a business owner, like the ones you blame, I have only ever bought AU made cars, and a lot more than just 5 over the years. Not blindly but because they have never let me down ..... and are not 'lemons' How many of your 5 have been Holdens and just to hazard a guess and being a betting man based on your biased articles, you would be driving a Holden now? Would love to see some unbiased non sensationalist reporting from you regarding how much 'of our tax payers dollar" has been poured into GM over the last 2 years? How about a report on the mismanagement of GM? Would love to see some facts and all the facts actually published. How about doing one on the Green ratings and why they are not worth a pinch. How about doing your job with all facts

    Dave of Melbourne Posted on 08 January 2013 1:43pm
  • Whether you are a Ford, Holden or any other type of enthusiast it is the blatant bias and continuing anti Ford that prevails in JD articles. You might have bought 5 Australian cars but being a business owner I have bought crap loads more and do support the AU industry ..... not blindly either but because they have never let me down. By your articles i would say most cars you have bought have been Holdens and can also bet that this is what you drive now? Not knowing, it is just an educated guess. How about looking at doing an unbiased report between the Au cars and their green credentials (unbiased). How about one on the miss management of GM AU and the amount of tax payer money being poured into that business? How about doing a report on the flawed Green credentials. How about a report on the fact that Govco not supporting the market in what they purchase ..... etc? How about doing reports with all facts?

    Dave of Melbourne Posted on 08 January 2013 1:26pm
  • J D your attempt to justify you bile is digging a deeper hole for you sir. Go back to school and study the art of reporting !

    Joel of Footscray Posted on 08 January 2013 1:12pm
  • I find these articles both offensive and misleading. It disheartens me to see people in this country continually attack the automotive industry. I am a diehard Holden fan but I realise that for Holden to be succesful it needs both Ford and Toyota to also be succesful. If one of these three were to fold, the other two will follow shortly after.

    Barry of Melbourne Posted on 08 January 2013 12:36pm
  • Cold hard numbers can be hard to stomach, especially when your favourite car brand is slipping down the charts. And there are no fans more dedicated than those from Holden and Ford. I’ve been reporting the decline of the Commodore and Falcon for the past decade. Sadly, the news has been getting worse, not better. Buyers are walking away from our beloved homegrown sedans in record numbers. It would be negligent not to report this. Information allows people to make informed decisions or brace for change. Don’t blame me for the record low sales of Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons. Blame your neighbour, your boss, the government (which, incidentally, also isn’t buying locally made cars in the same numbers it used to). They’re all buying imported cars that better suit their needs – at more affordable prices. Finally, ask yourself this: when was the last time you bought a brand-new locally-made car? Against my better judgment, I’ve owned five in past 10 years. I’m doing my bit. Are you doing yours? Read the full reply at

    Joshua Dowling of News Ltd Posted on 08 January 2013 12:22pm
  • Methinks the simplest way to protest against this ongoing anti-Ford drivel that J D insists on continually serving up is to withdraw any support with the advertisers associated with these "articles"! Hence from this time forward, I will NOT advertise or buy ANYTHING in CarsGuide, OR CareerOne OR The Age! J. Dowlings vicious, inflammatory tirades do ZERO to support our already troubled local motor industry, and really, the man needs pulling into line! Enough is enough!

    Charlie Wilson of Caroline Springs Posted on 08 January 2013 12:14pm
  • Another poorly written and poorly researched article Josh, how much longer do you think people are going to put up with your anti Ford/Anti Australian Car industry crap?? From now on im boycotting ANY carsguide sponsor who puts their name to anything you're associated with. Wake up you tool.

    Chris Tozer. of Sydney. Posted on 08 January 2013 11:43am
  • wow Joshua Dowling you are a twat how about you write an artical full of doom and gloomfor you beloved holden they are having down days this year due to bad sales of the crapadore and the cruise has not lived up to expectations they had hope you realise your beloved holden are strugling worse than ford are ford have got the right build # to sales numbers why we ask are you so hell bent on seeing ford go look at the big picture or is your pay slip from holden to good to let go START TO THINK ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE OF AUS AUTO MANUFACTURING OR ARE YOU HELL BENT TO SEE ONLY IMPORTS HERE GROW A BRAIN KNUMNUT

    Jason of Geelong Posted on 08 January 2013 11:13am
  • When I was growing up journalists reported facts and allowed the reader to form an opinion. It seems that Mr. Dowling has a personal agenda o push here, and facts are not getting in the way of the vitriol and bile he spews in his articles. News limited should do them selves a favour and get rid of this hack. This stuff smacks of the Truth newspaper from the '70's. Lift your game sir.

    Paul from Hawthorn of Hawthorn Posted on 08 January 2013 11:03am
  • How much are you paid JD to write half truths about Ford? The bias in your reporting is noted and anything you write about any vehicle needs can't be relied upon. There are way too many fully imported vehicles in government fleets and with some exceptions there is no need for them. Why don't you do some real investigative journalism on this topic???

    Rocket of Eating Hill Posted on 08 January 2013 10:47am
  • I bet motoring journos dont get paid much and cant afford a new Falcon anyway...

    jmg of Canberra Posted on 08 January 2013 10:11am
  • JD at it again. Even as a Holden man this is starting to get a little tiresome. I am starting to think you are privately or on the side working for someone for kickbacks.......if you are truly getting nothing from it then that's even worse. Lift your game!

    Karl of SA Posted on 07 January 2013 11:50pm
  • This is a ridicules "report" of the EcoBoost Falcon, and Ford in general. Get your facts right, and stop branding ford with a bad name. Do you want the falcon to die in Australia and send all our jobs overseas??? Idiot

    Christopher Newbigging of Sale Posted on 07 January 2013 11:39pm
  • yeah dowling, report all the facts. not just the ford bashing ones. wheres the holden eco stats??? and since when was a territory an eco car...omg. the lpg falcon meets the gov requirements....

    pointman of qld of qld Posted on 07 January 2013 11:15pm
  • Joshua Dowling you are a flog plain and simple. Every single article that has your name strewn across it is about the demise of Ford Australia. How about you get your facts right for once. For you to even call the territory diesel and ecolpi lemons just shows how mentally challenged you are. Oh and if both of the aforementioned cars fail this emissions test then how the hell does the V8 caprice used by the gillard government pass??? Somebody should tell Holden that they are paying you way too much.....

    Adam of Melbourne Posted on 07 January 2013 10:57pm
  • Lemon? Really? G6 EcoBoost has just won Car of the Year 2012. Sales might be not as what as expected from everyone ....... but a lemon? That's suing material and a very weird, biased article. How much of tax payers dollars did GM get for a car that is decreasing in sales at a higher % rate than the Falcon? Bad article and should be removed......

    Dave of Melb Posted on 07 January 2013 10:48pm
  • Joshua Dowling you have just give me reason to never sell a car through anyone you work for !!!! In my opinion this is journalism at its worst !!! Very poor form indeed shame on you.

    Boz of Qld Posted on 07 January 2013 10:39pm
  • Typical Anti Ford reporting from JD, you won’t be happy until Ford closes down and 1,000’s of people lose their jobs! How many of the other cars on that list meet the “green requirements”? What you should have reported was the lack Australian made cars Governments buy. As long as they buy your beloved holdens, hey!!!

    Emlyn of Townsville Posted on 07 January 2013 8:43pm
  • What about the 200 million Holden just received late last year Joshua? You know, the sum they received and the very same night Holden gave in to union demands and gave a massive pay rise to everyone? What colour is your SS Commodore again Joshua? Better yet Joshua, why don't you explain your allegiance with Holden as ALL but one of your articles in recent years has been anti-ford. Do you really want manufacturing in this country to die? Perhaps instead of being such a pernicious little moron you come to realise that without Ford, Holden would soon fold too - that is until they get all their cars from South Korea.

    Blampa of Peoples Republic of Gillrudd Posted on 07 January 2013 3:32pm
  • Have you considered that Ford may be satisfied with maximising profiit, by concentrating on private sector sales rather than cut-throat government sales?

    Dave of Blackburn Posted on 07 January 2013 2:49pm
  • Another typical negative article about the aussie car makers. I'm all for the government supporting the industry but surely the best way they can do this is by buying them. It's a disgrace that the government fleet has such low levels of locally made cars and they should be made in buy only aussie made to support local jobs.

    Matt of Melbourne Posted on 07 January 2013 12:20pm
  • joshua dowling give it a break will you, just cos you don't support ford AUS manufacturing, doesn't mean you have to try and make them look like the grinch. And as said by ken, Holden got millions more then you stated. Open your eyes and stop seeing the world through holden-coloured glasses. And by the way, ford's eco cars aren't lemons, they are quite the opposite actually.

    Nick of Queensland Posted on 07 January 2013 10:44am
  • I was expecting lots of comments defending Ford and questioning if the Green Vehicle Guide star-rating system is a made up thing designed to embarrass Ford. It must be rigged. Surely those cars are more eco friendly than what the standard dictates... LOL.

    Ford Focus is nice of But Falcon is a ANCIENT Posted on 07 January 2013 9:34am
  • Josh Dowling: You are a complete and utter blithering idiot. The industry is struggling enough without your horse-crap. The tone in which you write to imply that Ford is being irresponsible. Did you think that maybe the ranking method used in the Green Vehicle Guide is incorrect and unfair? How about investigating the facts before you write this dribble and directly add to the pain in the whole industry that is costing OUR PEOPLE jobs! Every sale lost to Ford because of this crap that leads to an employee losing their jobs is on YOU. Grow up!

    Very Disgruntled Reader Posted on 06 January 2013 9:11pm
  • Josh Dowling every article you write is shit same goes for this one give the local industry and break and do a proper days work for once.

    Hans solo of Many Places Posted on 06 January 2013 5:15pm
  • JD you are a Anti-Australian idiott! Go and jump off a bridge before you ruin our car industry.

    Ashley Carter of Melbourne Posted on 06 January 2013 5:11pm
  • Joshua Dowling, what is your agenda ? Besides wanting to see Ford Australia die ? Your articles are constantly anti-Ford and it really is truly very annoying.Go away and save your dribble for when the VF Commodore comes out so you can tell us how it's the best thing since sliced bread. Again.

    Kevin of Robertson Posted on 06 January 2013 1:46pm
  • What motivation could you possibly have for the "Ford duds" headline on the Age version of this article? Granted the governments 'auto advocate' is a joke ,and they should be purchasing cars, no question. GCIF has had positive impacts, look at diesel Territory private sales! Look at Cruze! But your article is a shallow, laughable, misinformed puddle of bile, which sadly will be taken as gospel by readers. Do you have any Nox, CO, CO2 figures to support the Green Star rating? Is the Green Cars guide data even accurate? That is something that has been called into question, and maybe if you didn't have an agenda you'd consider investigating it. Why are you ,Toby Hagon and Drive always laying the boot into Ford Australia? Its high time you answer this because I am noticing your readership is starting to wake up to it. You are hands down the most talentless, unimaginative, shocking excuses for motoring hacks there is. Please explain why you have an axe to grind with local cars or leave the job to somebody with passion.

    Opposite Lock of Sydney Posted on 06 January 2013 12:37pm
  • holden got millions more, how does the commodore rate with these scores

    Ken Posted on 06 January 2013 10:10am
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