Mike Stevens | May 5, 2011

Ford's 'Barra' inline six-cylinder petrol engine will remain an option for buyers "until at least 2016", Federal Industry Minister Kim Carr confirmed today.

The news comes despite a sharp drop in sales for its large sedan and the cutting of 240 jobs across its Broadmeadows and Geelong plants from July.

The Falcon has been the subject of broad speculation in recent years, with Ford's global 'One Ford' plan having some commentators musing about a front-wheel-drive platform for the next-gen Falcon, or outright replacement by the new US-market Taurus.

Ford's recently-overhauled Territory SUV offers the same I6 petrol engine as the Falcon, producing 195kW and 391Nm of torque.

Although the engine was updated to Euro IV emissions compliance last year, many of its competitors now meet the stricter Euro V requirements.

There are no confirmed plans to bring the Ford six up to speed, despite Federal Government plans for a Euro V requirement by 2012 - although the rule is likely to affect only vehicles introduced after the deadline.

Ford is currently planning two new models in the Falcon line-up, with the LPG-powered Falcon EcoLPi in the coming months, and an EcoBoost four-cylinder model to come in 2012.

The future of the I6 engine beyond 2016 remains unclear. Unless the company can work a Euro V upgrade, it is likely that the six-cylinder versions of the next Falcon and Territory will be powered by a US-sourced Duratec V6 petrol engine - and possibly in front-wheel-drive and AWD variants.


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