Following Ford Australia's worst ever month and the humiliating plunge of the Falcon (on which the Territory is based) to 13th place on the sales ladder - a stunning 50 per cent reversal on the January 2010 - the Territory bears the hopes of the Blue Oval's local manufacturing, at least in the short term.
Falcon is suffering because the wagon has been discontinued and it is without an LPG powered model (crucial to the taxi fleets which are the Falcon's mainstay) until later this year. The Falcon's future rests at least in part on its unprecedented and unlikely teaming with a four cylinder engine, a 2.0 turbo-charged Eco Boost, later this year.
In this and the Territory's diesel, Ford benefitted from the Federal Government controversially scrapped Green Car Innovation Fund. The so-called Eco Boost is at least relatively new. The overdue 2.7-litre V6 bi-turbo diesel Ford has finally secured is as old as the model itself, first seeing service in the then-Ford owned Land Rover and Jaguar in 2004.
Still, coupled with the old faithful 4.0-litre straight six petrol engine, the diesel-engined model is expected to at the very least hold the fort in terms of sales, as its donor car struggles to do better than the Thai-made Fiesta and South African imported Focus (due for replacement by a sophisticated in what will be a crowded third quarter of 2011 for Ford).
Although the fund was to be in place until 2020, Ford secured these powertrains which take Falcon and Territory to 2015 - the end of their model lives beyond which there is anything but certainty they will continue or be replaced by American-derived models.
Mild encouragement could come from South Africa, with Ford's local chief Jeff Nemeth indicating to Carsguide that market is looking to take about 100 of the re-designed SUV in petrol and diesel per month having discontinued imports in 2008.
Ford Territory Sales
2004 - 13583
2005 - 23454 first full year
2006 - 18364
2007 - 17290
2008 - 12882
2009 - 10884
2010 - 11558
2004: SX Model introduced
Wins Wheels' Car of the Year
Ford Australia boss Geoff Polites announces diesel engine plan, cancelled by successor.
2005: SY introduced in October with six-speed ZF automatic on AWD models.
2006: Territory Turbo officially unveiled in February at Melbourne motorshow, in showrooms mid-year
2008: FPV release F6X
2009: SY MkII introduced in April. Changes include new headlamps and modified tail lamps; new fogs and bumper, revised alloys, body coloured mirrors with chrome housings on Ghia and Ghia Turbo; and chrome belt moulding across the range. F6X dropped.
2011: SZ model to be officially unveiled February 8. Scheduled official on-sale date: May 2011. First ever diesel model.