FORD global president and CEO Mark Felds has today opened the company’s new Melbourne product development headquarters and announced a $450 million research and development investment in Australia in 2017.
The spend represents a 50 per cent increase over the approximately $300 million that Ford has channeled through the Australian arm of its Asia Pacific R&D division for each of the last couple of years.
This is vehicle development related spending that Wheels believes reflects an expensive stage of development of the second-generation T6 (Ranger and Everest) family and the addition of new responsibilities, said to include a 21st century version of the Bronco SUV.
It is also in addition to a $50 million capital investment that kicked off this year to turn Ford Australia’s old office building in Campbellfield into Asia Pacific's product development headquarters, as well as expansion of the Campbellfield design studio and upgrades to the You Yangs proving ground and emissions testing laboratory.
Fields’ visit to Australia came only weeks after the shutdown of Ford’s local manufacturing facilities and the end of production of the Falcon and Territory.
“Ford is investing heavily in new products and mobility solutions globally to make our customers’ lives better, and Australia is a key centre of innovation for us,” Fields said in a press release.
“The Australian team will build on their key role leading development of the global Everest SUV and Ranger pickup by creating more world-class vehicles and bringing even more fuel efficiency and safety innovations to customers.”
Ford’s Asia Pacific product development chief Trevor Worthington added: “It’s an exciting time as Ford transforms into an auto and mobility company, and our team in Australia will play a key role in delivering the breakthroughs and solutions for customers not only in Australia but around the world.”