The official tuner for Ford in Australia, Ford Performance Vehicles
(FPV), will be moved completely in house now that major shareholder Prodrive has decided to sell its stake to the automaker. FPV was operating under a joint venture agreement between Prodrive, which owned a 51 percent stake, and Ford, which owned the remaining portion.
Ford and Prodrive have since signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Ford to fully purchase the assets of FPV required to engineer, manufacture and market FPV cars. The range consists of several high-performance versions of the Ford Falcon sedan
sold primarily in Australia.
After a review of the operations it was determined by both parties that the current business situation was unsustainable in the long-term. Negotiations are expected to be completed shortly, with Ford to take responsibility for future activities of FPV from the end of 2012.
This includes all future development programs, the manufacture of FPV engines and vehicles, and marketing the FPV brand. Production of FPV engines will be move to Ford’s Geelong engine plant, while full vehicle assembly will take place at Ford’s Campbellfield plant, both in the Australian state of Victoria.
Faced with dwindling sales of large sedans in the Aussie market, FPV was recently forced to cut its staff numbers to meet lower expected sales. With its integration with Ford, FPV is likely to shed a further 32 jobs.
FPV’s most popular model, the Falcon GT
, comes with a unique version of the 5.0-liter V-8 found in the Mustang GT, which thanks to a supercharger has had its output boosted--mildly--to 450 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. The company also sells models powered by a turbocharged 4.0-liter straight-six.
Unfortunately for FPV, Ford is yet to announce a replacement for its Falcon range, which is expected to reach the end of its life-cycle around 2016. Without a replacement, FPV would have to diversify its range by tuning other Ford products.
Though there’s speculation Ford could manufacture other models in Australia beyond the Falcon, one of which is rumored to be the Taurus, Ford has been hinting of late that its Aussie division could become solely an R&D outpost. This means FPV’s future may lie with it developing go-fast versions of Ford’s global lineup, but not actually building any cars.
Prodrive, meanwhile, will be staying on to run motorsport programs for Ford in Australia.