New Ford Falcon could blow its cover early
Ford is toying with revealing next year's all-important facelifted Falcon early, and has also hinted the long-standing nameplate could stick around beyond 2017.
While Holden was forced to rip the covers off the VF Commodore four months before its high-tech new models hit the showrooms because of the Chevy SS reveal at Daytona Speedway this week, Ford is looking to stimulate interest in its fledgling large car with a drip-feed reveal program that could start as early as September - up to six months before production commences.
"We haven't announced when we will start production of the 2014 Falcon yet, and we haven't locked in when we will start talking about it publicly also," Ford President Bob Graziano told Fairfax Media during a ceremony to celebrate FPV production commencing at its Broadmeadows plant.
"But there is an opportunity to begin that process this year. We have a very busy year ahead of us with a raft of exciting new products and we certainly think they all deserve some fresh air around them.
"We're looking at our options."
The Falcon is fighting for fresh air against a range of new models that are likely to provide Ford with more sales than the local hero, including the all-new Kuga and Ecosport SUVs and the revised Fiesta range that includes new top-and-tail models: the ultra fuel efficient 1.0-litre Ecoboost and the sporty ST with its 1.6-litre turbo.
But the Falcon is still an important vehicle for Ford. And after Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux confirmed last week that the Commodore nameplate would live on after the current model is replaced by a global platform, Graziano also didn't rule out the possibility Ford could continue with the Falcon badge beyond 2017 when it is expected the locally-produced large sedan will be replaced by a global car.
While Ford's "One Ford" mantra is designed to produce a range of vehicles that are sold under the same nameplate in all markets - such as the Fiesta and Focus - there is a precedent set with Ford's mid-sized front-wheel drive car, which is sold as the Fusion in the US and the Mondeo in Europe and other markets, that could open the door for a similar car to be badged as a Falcon here in Australia.
"We have to see where we go with our strategy moving forward," Graziano said.
"There is a lot of speculation regarding what we're doing beyond the 2014 Falcon refresh. And at the moment, everything is an option for us."