Ford's boss hints at end to the Australian Falcon
As the Falcon celebrates 50 years on the road in 2010, Ford's president Alan Mulally has warned that the car may soon be a thing of the past.
Speaking at the Detroit motor show, Mulally said only one large car platform would be built for all world markets under the company's One Ford program.
"The best thing for Ford is to bring our scale and volume (to the market)," Mulally told Fairfax newspapers.
"(Car-makers) who make one vehicle, a different vehicle for one country, I think those days are gone, because you can't compete with the global companies and Ford's going to be a powerhouse globally."
It is rumoured that the likely successor is a car based on the front-wheel-drive Ford Taurus.
Mulally would not say if Ford Australia would play a leading role in developing the large car platform, or whether a version of the car would be built in Australia.
Ford Australia president Marin Burela told Fairfax he hoped Australian engineering talent would be used.
A decision on whether the world car would be front- or rear-wheel-drive was at least a year away, he said.
"The all-new Falcon doesn't have to come into play until the end of 2014, early 2015, and we don't have to make a decision until 2011 on what that vehicle will be, in terms of styling, technologies " he said.
Ford Australia employs about 4700 people at its Victorian plants.
Falcon was the fifth-highest selling car in Australia in 2009, with 31,023 sales compared with 44,387 sales for the top-selling Holden Commodore.