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Ford says factories will make it to October 2016 end date as it unveils last ever Falcon GT.
Ford has unveiled the last ever Falcon GT two years before the factories are due to close -- as the company gave its clearest indication yet that the Broadmeadows car assembly line and Geelong engine plant will make it all the way to their planned closure in October 2016.
Sales of the locally-made Ford Falcon sedan and Territory SUV have plateaued since Ford announced 12 months ago it was ending manufacturing in Australia.
But when asked by News Corp if the current production rate was sustainable all the way to the end, the boss of Ford Australia, Bob Graziano, said: “Yes.” When asked if there was any cause for concern about an early closure, Mr Graziano said: “no”.
The man of few words said it was always Ford’s plan to go the distance, but the picture had become clearer in recent months and that the current output was enough to the keep the factory running.
“There is no change to the plan,” said Mr Graziano said, adding that the Falcon and Territory were selling relatively well compared to other vehicles in their segments.
Ford’s optimistic outlook will come as a relief to Holden and Toyota because all three car companies are dependent on each other given that they all sources parts from common suppliers.
To that end, Ford has taken the unprecedented step of inviting its rivals to its internal supplier forums. “I’m very proud of what the Ford Motor Company has been able to do,” said Mr Graziano, who also highlighted the regular jobs forums it was hosting for the 1300 or so workers who will be made redundant by October 2016.
Mr Graziano said Ford is well progressed with new model updates to the Falcon and Territory, due in September this year. But the news of the Ford factory’s stay of execution is not enough to prolong the life of the Falcon GT. Mr Graziano says only 500 Ford Falcon GT-F (the “F” stands for “final edition”) sedans will be sold in Australia and “there will be no more”.
Mr Graziano revealed to News Corp Australia he had not received a single letter, email or phone call from enthusiasts to extend the life of the life of the Falcon GT. He said V8 performance car buyers have moved to SUVs and four-door utes.
All 500 Falcon GT-F have been sold despite their $80,000 price-tag. The most powerful Falcon ever made has a symbolic 351kW supercharged V8, which is a nod to the “351” GTs that made the brand famous in the 1970s.
Ford has put every piece of knowhow into the Falcon GT’s last hurrah, which also has “launch control” to give drivers the perfect start, and adjustable suspension for those who want to take their cars on a race track. “This is a celebration of the best of the best,” said Mr Graziano.
As good as the new Ford Falcon GT-F is, the best 0 to 100km/h achieved at the media preview at Ford’s top secret test track near Geelong today was 4.9 seconds, 0.2 seconds slower than the Holden Special Vehicles GTS which also has a supercharged V8.
Once the Falcon GT-F goes out of production in the next few months, Ford will revive the Falcon XR8 (a less powerful version of the GT-F) and make it available through all 200 Ford dealers, rather than the 60 that sell the GT exclusively.
Fast facts: Ford Falcon GT-F
Price: $77,990 plus on-road costs
Engine: Supercharged 5.0-litre V8
Power: 351kW and 569Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic
0 to 100km/h: 4.9 seconds (as tested)