Ford Australia has announced today its Geelong Engine Plant, which currently produces Ford Australia’s brilliant in-line six-cylinder engine is to continue production post-2010. In a further unexpected twist, it will now be engineered for Euro IV compatibility.
Ford Australia is to invest $21 million in plant and equipment, and additional engineering investment to bring the I6 engine up to the stringent Euro IV environmental standards. For Australian parts makers, this is unexpected and astonishing news. If you sit quietly for a moment, you will be able to hear the collective sigh of relief washing over Geelong-based automotive parts and component suppliers.
This news now means that all three Australian-based vehicle manufacturers will now be making engines to meet the new Euro IV standards when they are introduced into Australia in 2010.
Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, and Victorian Premier Brumby were on hand to welcome the announcement. In a sea of bad news for the motor industry, Ford’s announcement is an island of hope for the future of the industry and perhaps the first tangible sign of a result from the Rudd Government’s promised $6.2 billion in support of the local vehicle manufacturing sector.
Ford has stated as much, its press release saying “that the Federal Government's new Green Car Innovation Fund provides a framework for the company to investigate an additional range of environmentally-oriented product investment initiatives which, when combined with emissions improvements to the popular I6 engine, will increase future competitiveness”.
The announcement from Ford adds to the $200 million that the company has previously invested in facilities and product development in Geelong since 2006.
"This decision is good news, not only for our employees in Geelong, our suppliers and the surrounding community, but also for the many fans of our I6 engine, which will now be re-engineered to achieve Euro IV emissions standards," Ford Australia President & CEO Marin Burela said.
"This is the first step in a broad product investment strategy to reduce emissions and deliver improved fuel economy across our locally built vehicle line-up, including Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory."
“Our I6 engine continues to receive rave reviews for its performance, fuel economy and quietness. Keeping this engine in our product line-up will allow us to maintain our competitive edge and provide a distinct advantage over our direct competition," said Mr Burela.
Maybe it’s not yet time to start ringing the bells to ‘bring out the dead’ on the local industry. All who have spent quality time with Ford’s I6 engine will be pleased with this result – it’s one of the best ‘sixes’ to be had anywhere.