Australia’s car manufacturing industry may be closed by the end of 2017 but there is a bold new export hope: design and engineering talent. The Ford Everest SUV was created in Broadmeadows but will be made in China.
The first ever Australian-designed car to be made in China was unveiled in Beijing overnight.
The new Ford Everest family-sized four-wheel-drive was designed and engineered from the ground up in Broadmeadows, on the northern outskirts of Melbourne, in a small building behind the Falcon factory that will fall silent in October 2016.
The top secret project is a sign of things to come as car manufacturing comes to an end and Australia becomes an exporter of talent -- helping create cars that will be made overseas.
“The Everest is proof of the incredible design and engineering talent we have in Australia and within the global Ford team,” said Ford Australia spokesman Martin Gunsberg.
Ford Australia already employs more designers and engineers than it does blue-collar factory workers -- about 1100 versus 850 -- and will become the biggest automotive employer of people with such skills once Holden and Toyota also close their factories in 2017.
The Everest is due on sale in Australia next year priced from about $45,000.
It will put a seven-seat, heavy-duty four-wheel-drive within reach of families now that the Toyota LandCruiser and Nissan Patrol are priced beyond the $61,884 Luxury Car Tax.
As Ford joins the growing trend to global vehicles, the Everest models sold in Australia will be sourced from a factory in Thailand because Ford believes the Chinese production line will barely be able to keep up with demand there.
The Australian-designed and engineered Ford Everest will also be sold in more than 40 countries across the Asia-Pacific, India and Africa.
“The Ford Everest will help to expand our product footprint in the region,” said Trevor Worthington, vice president, product development, Ford Asia Pacific.
"I've always had the view that Australian designers, Australian engineers, Australian scientists are a very talented pool of people who make the best use of (limited resources)," said Worthington.
As well as being capable off-road, the Ford Everest is equipped with such hi-tech features as radar cruise control, a blind spot warning system, automatic lane-keeping, and cross-traffic alert (which warns the driver of approaching cars when reversing out of perpendicular parking spaces).
The Everest will also automatically dial 000 after a crash -- if a mobile is paired -- in which an airbag has been deployed.
Meanwhile, anyone who doesn’t want to leave civilization too far behind can charge a lap top through the Everest’s 240-volt power outlet in the second row, while 12-volt outlets in the front console and in the second row let drivers and passengers charge multiple gadgets at the same time.
Likened to being the Swiss Army Knife of cars, another 12-volt outlet in the cargo hold can be used to run devices like air compressors when camping.