2012 Ford FalconEnlarge Photo
This will hopefully alleviate dismal sales of the Falcon, which have been on the decline for several years and most recently were hovering at less than 1,000 units per month.
But with Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] touting its new ‘One Manufacturing’ plan for the streamlining of its plants around the globe, there’s been speculation that the new Falcon may drop its unique rear-wheel-drive platform and simply become a derivative of the Taurus, a new generation of which is due later this year and set to keep its all-wheel-drive layout.
Worse still for the Aussie industry is Ford’s commitment to local production only until 2016, meaning it’s possible that this new Falcon won’t even be manufactured in Australia.
According to Car Sales, the new Falcon won’t be a rebadged Taurus just yet but an extensive upgrade of the current model, which can trace its roots back to the ungainly ‘AU’ model launched in 1998.
While the windows and doors will likely stay the same (the most expensive area to redesign), virtually every other exterior element will change. Insiders have suggested a look similar to that of the new Ford Fusion.
The current model’s engines will also carry over but with revisions to improve fuel economy. The base unit will be a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, followed by the locally-developed 4.0-liter straight-six engine in mid-level trim. A V-8 will top the range, either in a revived XR8 or in a new FPV model.
Some of the updates, particularly for the interior and drivetrains, should also feature on the Territory, a crossover derivative of the Falcon built on the same line.
One bright spot is the suggestion that the investment required for the Falcon upgrade will likely ensure production continues beyond 2016. The decision, however, will almost certainly be based on whether the updated Falcon and its Territory derivative increase sales significantly from current levels.
Eventually the Falcon will move to a global platform, and possibly be sourced from outside Australia, though at this point it’s not clear what Ford is planning.