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Is Bob up to the job?

Graziano, the newest president of Ford Australia, ducks all the tough questions and answers none of the speculation.

He has to defend Ford, and do it at a time when there are far more questions than answers at the blue oval brand. Ford Australia has plenty of international development work, and is recruiting a big batch of new engineers for Broadmeadows, but there is plenty of bad news and worrying rumours clouding the future.

Ford's showroom result in January was miserable. No-one is sure if the locally-made Falcon will continue beyond 2015. There is talk of a re-badged American Taurus, a failure once before in Australia, to carry the Falcon forward into a front-wheel drive future.

Ford has a lot of update work coming this year, mostly on the efficiency and showroom appeal of the Falcon, and is revealing the updated Territory for the first time this week. The Falcon will be good, because that's what Ford Australia does, and the Territory work seems impressive.

But the flagship Falcon is spiralling down in showrooms and will need more than just an ecoboost four-cylinder engine to reverse the long-term trend. And the Territory has been overtaken by Korean and Japanese rivals while Ford has dithered on everything from a diesel engine to quality and design improvements.

Graziano is the newest president of Ford Australia - a job that's been a revolving door in recent years - and promising a lot of good things, without going into much detail. He comes from China with an impressive track record at overseas postings including Mazda in Japan, but he is not giving enough detail.

"This country is very special, as we're beginning to find out," he tells Carsguide this week. "If you look at our total business, and what the team has done over the last several years in restructing the business, based on demand, they have done a tremendous job on building a sustainable business going forward. We are going to focus on that. And that each area contributes going forward."

So that's the broad-brush stuff, but what is really happening on Falcon?

"It's tough to speculate on what the future has to hold. What I'm focussed on now is to add new technologies to this outstanding platform. The freshen and the technology will be well accepted," he says, without addressing the underlying problems. "It's a very important namplate for us. My desire is to continue to build that brand as we go forward."

Graziano ducks all the tough questions, answers none of the speculation, and generally tries to give the impression that everything is fine in Broadmeadows. But it's not. He's even wearing rose-colour classes on the sales disaster in January, when the Falcon was only 13th on the list of Australia's favourite cars.

"If we deconstruct January, year on year, we saw very encouraging signs. It was a best-ever month on Fiesta, a good month on Focus, Territory same, and the private buyer was very strong on Falcon."

It's not easy being blue at the moment, as Graziano will discover. But what really matters is rebuilding confidence in the blue oval and the future of Ford in Australia.