2012 Ford FalconEnlarge Photo
We’ve heard a lot about Australia’s Holden Commodore, which in sedan bodystyle is set to debut once again in the U.S., this time as the 2014 Chevrolet SS. However, the Australian market has another local hero, the Ford Falcon, which like its Holden counterpart offers rear-wheel drive dynamics along with multiple bodystyles including a ute and even a crossover derivative.
However, while Holden is committed to the development of a next-generation Commodore, Ford has remained surprisingly quiet on the matter of a replacement for the Falcon, leading many to believe that the car will be replaced by a global model like the Taurus once new emission standards are introduced in Australia in 2016.
Ford already announced some job cuts for its Aussie division earlier this year, and supplier sources have been telling local media that the Falcon and its derivatives won’t be in production beyond 2016. Ford also slashed production numbers recently in Australia to an annual rate of just 33,000 cars due to falling demand for large sedans like the Falcon.
And now, with the Blue Oval announcing its new One Manufacturing plan for the streamlining of its plants around the globe, it’s looking almost certain that the Falcon’s run will be over within the next couple of years. One of the key strategies of the One Manufacturing plan is a reduction in the number of vehicle platforms and components.
Ford says using fewer platforms means it will be able to produce 25 percent more vehicle derivatives per plant by 2015, though it means we’ll lose vehicles based on unique architectures like the Falcon. While the car’s demise is looking likely, what remains uncertain is whether Ford plans to keep its Australian manufacturing base running or if the operations will be downsized to just an engineering and design outpost. Sadly, the recent shedding of jobs points to the latter.
Stay tuned for an update.