Now that we know the Ford Australia manufacturing arm is going to be shut down in a little over three years, it will also spell the end of a nameplate that has been in continuous production for over fifty years. The Falcon name is one of the most durable names in the automotive world.
The question becomes, what next for Ford? Without Falcon, there is no Territory, period. So realistically, the two cars sold in Australia that have the largest potential profit margin have to be replaced somehow. So what will replace the Falcon and Territory? Ford, as a full vehicle line manufacturer couldn’t possibly leave glaring holes in its product range like they did when there was literally no mid-sized car for an entire generation. Any possible replacement now has to be a world car, something that can work anywhere and is being built now or will be built within three years.
The most likely direct candidate to replace the Falcon is the current Ford Taurus, a front wheel drive car with V6s in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms. Interestingly, the car is also all wheel drive capable – a useful capability in North America during winter – and when coupled with the top line engine, it would make for quite a rapid, yet surefooted vehicle. It certainly helps that it would come loaded with the latest and greatest of technology from Ford worldwide. The best in infotainment and driver aid technology is something that Falcon and Territory have been missing since they have long been an orphan platform.
Of course, it is also possible they don’t bother with sending Taurus to Australia. They could leave the large car market to take a pick between Commodore, Camry/Aurion (which is the same car with a different engine) and Mondeo. In fact, the Mondeo is larger in most dimensions than the Falcon and you could argue it is much more practical too. It has a hatchback, which means it’s easier to load big items into the boot and if you really need a giant hole to stuff things into, there’s always the wagon. The only difference is that you don’t get a big engine. But you can get the 2.0L turbo four that’s in the Falcon currently, which under no normal circumstances is lacking power or torque at 177kW and 360Nm. The only thing that would really be lacking is an FPV variant with a firebreathing V8. But the vast majority of customers don’t want that kind of car and most likely couldn’t afford the enormous fuel bill to accompany it. If customers want a real, American muscle car from the Blue Oval, then they should bring the Mustang out here. I could live with losing the GT for a Shelby Mustang!
Now we come to the Territory. As the sole SUV that Ford has in Australia that’s capable of seating seven, its replacement would have to be suitably large. Yes, the Kuga is the smaller, more hipster friendly SUV from Ford, but any real like-for-like replacement has to come from the Explorer or the Flex. Both are big enough and seat seven, but the Flex is more of a people mover than an off-roader so the Explorer seems to be the only option.
This is ultimately just speculation, but also the only real alternatives that Ford has in its worldwide portfolio of products. Who knows what could happen in three years. Perhaps a small miracle occurs and Ford magically decides not to shut down the manufacturing plants here. It’s not like there is no precedent for that in Australia.