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FPV and Falcon GT being axed ahead of factory close

Ford plans a series of limited edition GT models during 2014, the company said.

Ford Australia has confirmed the decision in a media statement this afternoon. The announcement will likely come as a shock to Ford fans, many of whom were planning to buy one of the last Falcon GTs and keep them as collector pieces. Ford will instead revive the Falcon XR8 when the new model goes on sale, using a less powerful version of the GT Falcon's supercharged 5.0-litre V8.

A media statement issued by Ford this afternoon said the return of the XR8 is timed to coincide with the introduction of the 2014 Falcon sedan and Territory SUV update, ahead of the closure of Ford's Broadmeadows and Geelong factories no later than October 2016.

As the Falcon XR8 returns to the Ford range, the Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) range -- which includes the iconic GT Falcon -- will retire, the Ford media statement confirmed. Ford plans a series of limited edition GT models during 2014, the company said.

Ford took control of FPV late last year and brought production of the GT back in house in February 2013 for the first time since 1976. But Ford has now decided to wind up production of the GT as well.

It's the second dose of bad news for Australian V8 fans in two weeks. Last week, News Corp Australia exclusively reported that a leaked SA Government document revealed that Holden will not have a V8 in its lineup by 2016 or 2018.

Buoyed by a string of Bathurst victories Ford sold more than 12,000 Falcon GTs in the eight years from 1968 to 1976. As a sign of the changing market, however, it took 21 years to sell the same number of Falcon GTs from 1992 to 2012.

"FPV has been very successful for the last 12 years and our relationship with Tickford for many years before that," said Ford Australia Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Service Graeme Whickman.

"We appreciate all of the great team members, dealers, customers and fans who have supported FPV through its history. We look forward to sharing further details of the final FPV models and the new XR8 over the coming months."

"We have received a lot of interest and continued requests from Falcon fans to bring back the XR8. Re-introducing the XR8 sedan, packaged in our updated Falcon, will make our renowned locally-engineered and manufactured V8 engine available to a broader group of people."

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling