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Ford, Holden and Toyota models worth waiting for

Ford Everest will give the blue oval brand a shot in the arm when it arrives in 2015.

The secret (and some not so secret) models that will power Ford, Holden and Toyota when their factories close.

Australia's car factories will be closed within three years but Ford, Holden and Toyota dealerships will remain long after the gates are locked.
 
All three brands are preparing a rush of new models to replace the cars made locally, but they'll also be stocking their showrooms with vehicles of different shapes and sizes to fill some critical gaps.
 
The big three companies have given clues about some of the cars around the corner, but we've also managed to unearth others they're trying to keep under wraps.
 
Here are the secret (and some not-so-secret) models worth waiting for from Ford, Holden and Toyota over the next few years.
 
Ford
 
Ford will have completely overhauled its showroom line-up by the time its Broadmeadows car factory and Geelong engine and stamping plants are closed in October 2016.
 
Ford was the only one of the US car makers not to take its foot off the accelerator during the Global Financial Crisis. It was cashed up because it sold its foreign luxury-car brands and borrowed enough money to invest in a completely new global line-up just before the world's finance system collapsed.
 
Given that it takes five years to take a car from a sketch pad to a showroom, Ford is about to reap the benefits while the others play catch-up.
 
Ford Everest
 
This is not the replacement for the Ford Territory, but the Ford Everest will give the blue oval brand a shot in the arm when it arrives next year priced from about $45,000.
 
The seven-seater SUV was designed and engineered from the ground up in Australia -- and made for our conditions -- even if it will be built in Thailand.
 
Based on the Ford Ranger ute (which also gets a facelift in 2015), the Everest has unique suspension which should make it drive more like a car than a heavy-duty 4WD.
 
Ford Edge

 
This also is not the replacement for the Ford Territory. Contrary to other reports, the Ford Edge (unveiled in the US earlier this year) is a five-seat SUV designed to appeal to young families that don't need seven seats.
 
Think of it as a rival to the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5. It's due in Ford Australia showrooms in late 2015 or early 2016.
 
Ford Explorer
 
Now this IS the replacement for the Ford Territory. The next generation Ford Explorer (North America's top selling SUV, the new version of which is yet to be unveiled) will replace the Territory in late 2016.
 
Ford Australia doesn't want to let the Territory name die but it's likely the vehicle will wear its US name. However, we may see the Territory badge on a model variant of the Explorer.
 
Ford Mustang
 
Ford has confirmed the new Mustang will come to Australia in coupe and convertible form and with four-cylinder and V8 power in 2015, with prices expected to start at about $50,000.
 
But we can also tell you the supercharged Shelby GT500 Mustang successor is due in 2016. And to think, as of today, arch rival Holden still has no V8 confirmed beyond 2017.
 
Ford Focus RS
 
Ford is yet to unveil the new generation Focus RS, but it is poised to become the hottest hatch Ford has ever made. Based on the hugely successful Focus ST (a facelift of which is due in Australia early next year, with sleeker front and rear lights and a revised dashboard layout), thinly disguised test mules have been spotted testing in Europe and North America.
 
According to reputable overseas reports the new Focus RS will be powered by a 2.3-litre turbo four-cylinder engine that will also be used in the new Mustang. The difference, however, is that the engine in the Focus RS will power the front wheels, not the rear, as in the Mustang.
 
The previous three-door Focus RS sold in small numbers in Australia in 2010 priced at $60,000. The new model -- a five-door -- is expected to be priced at less than $50,000.
  
Ford Mondeo

There is an all-new Ford Mondeo is due in Australia next year. Released overseas 18 months ago, it was supposed to be here by now.
 
The reason for the delay is not clear but be ready for the familiar name to be applied to a new look.
 
Furthermore, next year's Mondeo will have a shorter model cycle than normal because a bigger and completely rebodied version will arrive soon after the Falcon dies.
 
Contrary to other reports, the Falcon will be replaced by the Mondeo nameplate. The 2017 Mondeo is said to be as big as -- if not bigger than -- the outgoing Falcon “FG-X” due in showrooms in November.
 
Ford dealers wanted to adopt the US name for the new car -- Fusion -- to give it a clean break and a fresh start (many Australians view the Mondeo as a small car, because of the original 1990s models) but Detroit settled on Mondeo for our market.  
 
Holden
 
Holden sales are recovering slowly but the reality is the brand is still playing catch-up after its head office, General Motors, hit the brakes during the Global Financial Crisis and stopped or delayed key models.
 
Much of the Holden line-up is long overdue for replacement and all-new vehicles are still a little while away. In the meantime, Holden has sharpened prices on existing stock and dealers are pushing hard to move metal.
 
As emotional as the Holden brand is, the end of manufacturing has given the company a chance to wipe the slate clean and cherry-pick the best models from the GM world, now there's no local factory to protect.
 
That means the Holden showroom of the future is going to be very multicultural. Most Holdens today come from South Korea and Thailand, but you can expect to see the company dip into Europe and North America to bring some gloss back to its image.
 
Holden Commodore
 
You read it here first. The “Commodore” of the future will come from Germany, meaning it will have also come full circle.
 
The original Holden Commodore introduced in 1978 was a localised version of Germany's Opel family sedan of the day. Once 'our' Commodore goes to the car park in the sky, Holden is expected to source its replacement from Opel in Germany.
 
Holden has not confirmed this, but well placed sources say Holden executives have already driven early prototypes of the car in Germany.
 
It is, essentially, the new generation Opel Insignia (also sold elsewhere in the General Motors world -- China and North America -- as a Buick).
 
There is much debate about whether or not the car will be called a “Commodore”. Holden apparently wants to keep the nameplate but diehard fans say it doesn't deserve the Commodore badge.
 
The new model will be a front-wheel-drive car with four-cylinder or six-cylinder power. There will be a sedan and wagon, but no ute and no V8.
 
Holden Captiva
 
The Captiva SUV is one of the Holdens overdue for replacement, and yet it will come in for another minor update later this year (rear cameras to be fitted to all models) to keep it going until its successor arrives.
 
Holden dealers have been told the Captiva will be replaced by a large US-styled seven-seat SUV, likely the Chevrolet Equinox.
 
It's not due in Australian showrooms until late 2015 or early 2016. Once it arrives, it will leave room in the Holden line-up for a five-seat SUV between it and the baby Trax.
 
Holden Colorado
 
The Holden Colorado is one of the newer pick-ups around, but it's not selling as well as the company would like. It too was a casualty of the GFC, with GM having to cut some corners during its development.
 
But dealers have been told that a massive update is due for the Colorado in 2015. In addition to the tough new US look, it will also get some mechanical upgrades and a refreshed interior.
 
Holden hatchbacks
 
Holden will have a two-model strategy for small cars: the all-new Cruze sedan and wagon, and the European-sourced Astra hatch.
 
The Holden Astra will return to local showrooms next year, starting with the performance variants and the Astra-based Cascada convertible. 
 
But selected models from the regular Astra range are due to follow in late 2015 or early 2016 as Holden winds down production of the locally-made Cruze small car.
 
The Cruze's run was always due to end earlier than the Commodore. 
 
The all-new Cruze sedan and wagon (likely sourced from Thailand or elsewhere in Asia rather than South Korea), while the European-sourced Astra hatch will take on the likes of the Volkswagen Golf.
 
Toyota
 
Toyota also hit the brakes during the Global Financial Crisis but has largely been able to mask the delays in its product line-up and avoid denting its global sales leadership.
 
Two key models have been pushed back -- the Prius hybrid and HiLux utility -- and its top-selling mid-size sedan, the Camry, is about to have the biggest facelift in its history after the US panicked about the understated appearance of the current model.
 
Suffice to say, Toyota has a big couple of years ahead with some key new models.
 
Toyota HiLux

 
The HiLux is Toyota Australia's bread and butter -- it has been the country's top-selling workhorse ute for more than three decades -- but rivals have been taking a slice of the action.
 
They haven't left Toyota with the crumbs -- the HiLux is still the top-selling ute -- but the Japanese giant is worried. So worried, in fact, that when the new Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok came out two to three years ago, Toyota reportedly tore up its plans for the new HiLux, appointed a new chief engineer, and started again.
 
So instead of seeing a new generation HiLux late this year it will arrive late next year. The first all-new HiLux in 10 years will probably be unveiled at the Thailand motor show next April, when production is due to commence; Australian deliveries are not expected until October 2015.
 
Given that it will follow the new Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton (both due in the first half of 2015) the HiLux will be the last of the current pick-ups to be overhauled. With competition stronger than ever, it better be best dressed.
 
Toyota 4Runner
 
Toyota will borrow a blast from the past to fill out its already bulging SUV line-up by re-introducing the 4Runner in Australia in late 2015 or early 2016.
 
Sold locally between 1987 and 1996, the 4Runner was a HiLux-based five-seat wagon aimed at beachgoers. It was even called the Toyota Surf in Japan, the UK and North America.
 
As night follows day, an all-new 4Runner follows an all-new HiLux. We just don't yet know what it will be called. In overseas markets such as Thailand the model is now known as Fortuner; it is unclear whether it will adopt this name or return to its roots.
 
Toyota Prius
 
The fourth generation Prius was supposed to go on sale in the middle of 2015, now it is likely to be pushed back to late 2015 or early 2016.
 
The reason? Toyota believes it has found better battery technology that will give it more petrol-free driving range.
 
Today's Prius can only drive between 1km and 2km on battery alone in ideal conditions (a flat, smooth surface driven at car park speeds) before the petrol motor kicks in.
 
That said, the main purpose of the battery pack and electric motor is to move the car from rest and give the petrol engine a boost once the car is up to speed.
 
The new model will be better able to adapt to plug-in hybrid technology (20km of battery power before the petrol motor kicks in), as well as having other technology highlights, such as a sunroof with solar panels that operate a fan to keep the cabin cool when the car is parked.
 
Toyota Camry
 
The Toyota Camry will get a bold new look in March next year, even though there is nothing wrong with the current model.
 
Australia's top-selling medium-sized sedan for 20 years in a row is getting the biggest facelift in the shortest period of time. Every panel has changed except the roof and there are almost 2000 new parts.
 
Customarily, mid-life updates are introduced after three years on sale, and don't include such radical changes.
 
But Toyota has brought forward the facelift -- and created an almost-new car -- after just two years amid concerns in the US the current model did not look new enough.
 
Toyota has loaded the 2015 Camry with new technology and equipment, including making the carpet 30 per cent thicker to improve quietness.
 
Toyota Australia was obliged to adopt the new look otherwise it would have risked losing its export business to the Middle East, which takes 70 per cent of Altona's Camry production.
 
To get us used to Toyota's bold new look, the updated Yaris hatch also gets a new nose later this year.

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