Ford Australia has announced that Falcon and Territory will receive an investment package of $103 million to keep the cars alive until at least the end of 2016.
The news was announced yesterday at the Detroit motor show by Ford Australia boss Bob Graziano, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa President Joe Hinrichs, and the Federal Minister for Manufacturing, Kim Carr. The boost includes $34 million from within the existing New Car Plan fund and additional support from the Victorian State Government, the rest being made up by increased investment from Ford HQ in Dearborn.
“Ford Australia’s $103m investment in the design, engineering and manufacture of Falcon and Territory from 2014 continues our focus on providing vehicles with enhanced environmental performance in every segment in which we compete,” said Graziano. “There’s no doubt the large car segment is challenging, but it can remain viable if we continue to provide buyers with what they want – fuel efficiency, design excellence, and features that enhance safety and driving experience.”
Falcon will be launched next year with a four-cylinder Ecoboost engine, and further enhancements to aerodynamics, tyres and transmission will also help improve the car’s level of efficiency going forward.
“It’s good news for jobs,” said Graziano, “as it will provide direct employment for around 300 people during the design and engineering stages – as well as supporting jobs and investment across our supply chain.”
Falcon sales in 2011 were the lowest on record, with fewer than 20,000 finding homes. Production at the Broadmeadows plant in Geelong fell to 45,000 last year – Falcon, Territory and Ute combined – which is seen as unsustainable as a business model without government support. Around 3,500 people are employed by Ford in Victoria, jobs that would be under direct threat if the car and engine manufacturing facilities were shut down.
Plans for beyond 2016 have not been disclosed.