Ford Australia has announced it will take over management and production of FPV vehicles as partner Prodrive moves to exit the local market.
Until now, the two companies have operated FPV as a joint venture, with 51 percent held by Prodrive and 49 percent by Ford Australia.
Announced today, the companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see Ford purchase all FPV assets required for local engineering and production. This news follows a review by both Ford Australia and Prodrive of the FPV business and of its long-term sustainability in the current market.
Ford is expected to assume responsibility for all FPV operations from the end of this year, including manufacture of existing models and engines, and the development of future models.
“We recognise the passion and dedication of FPV enthusiasts and their desire to see Ford high-performance vehicles available in the market,” Ford Australia Bob Graziano said today.
“Although this segment of the market is relatively niche, it is an important part of Ford’s performance history and DNA. Both partners have worked hard to ensure the FPV brand can continue to thrive in Australia post the change to our current arrangements.”
From the end of 2012, engines for FPV cars will be manufactured at Ford's Geelong plant, with the move expected to see around 32 redundancies from FPV's current workforce.
“As a result of the business review, Prodrive has made the decision to exit the performance car market at the end of 2012,” Prodrive Managing Director Bryan Mears said.
“We have enjoyed great success through our partnership with Ford Australia and look forward to watching the FPV brand continue to thrive in the future.”
Ford says the FPV line-up will continue to be sold through the carmaker's existing FPV specialist dealers, with no change expected to the current service and warranty arrangements.
Today's news follows wide-spread speculation that FPV would soon move under Ford control, athough both Ford and Prodrive had remained tight-lipped on the topic.
The move brings an end to a long-running partnership dating back to the Tickford program of the 90s.