Ford Australia Boss, the disarmingly forthright Marin Burela, today in a media briefing gave the clearest indication yet that the future of the Falcon is bound into Ford?s global ?One Ford? model strategy.
Furthermore, he said that ?by the end of 2010 or 2011, we?ll be making a decision on our next large car.?
While he would not be drawn on whether that replacement would be a Taurus-based vehicle (as many have been speculating), he said, ?It is important as a company we continue to develop global platforms. ?One Ford? is important (as a global strategy) and we?re sticking to it.?
?I?m not sure we fully understand what front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive really mean to Australian consumers,? he said, putting it in a context of the growth of all-wheel-drive.
With Ford?s ?One Ford? strategy as the immovable foundation to these musings, the meaning behind them is clear: a Falcon as we understand it today ? a model exclusive to the Australian market - is increasingly unlikely to form part of Ford Australia?s on-going strategy.
"An Australian-only product is a risky strategy for us (Ford) to adopt," Mr Burela said. "It is important to have global reach and global scale."
But don?t read into those words that Ford will cease production of a large car here.
Far from it. Marin Burela?s projections see large cars as holding in excess of 100,000 sales, or at least 10 percent of the Australian market, through the next decade. And Ford intends to be a major part of it.
So, a global platform for Ford Australia?s next large car. What will it be called? Falcon? And where will the platform be sourced?
You make up your mind. We don?t have long to wait for the answers ? two years, tops. Meanwhile, we?ll keep you posted.