The changing of the guard at Ford Australia has begun with production of the right-hand-drive Mustang at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan as part of the iconic car’s first-ever global launch.
As well as being a post-Falcon muscle car option for Australia, the Mustang will be available to customers in more than 100 markets around the world – including those where motorists drive on the left side of the road.
More than 3000 orders have already been received in Australia, shattering pre-arrival sales expectations. Four hundred orders have been received in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Ford Australia has launched the smaller, updated Focus, emphasising its involvement with its design and development.
With all vehicle production in Australia to cease next year, the company thinks it important to show Australian car buyers that it will be very much alive and well in the years to come.
Ford officially opened its new national sales company office in Richmond last month as part of new infrastructure investments that add to the company’s R&D spending of more than $300 million locally this year alone.
The company has established its Asia Pacific Product Development Centre at Broadmeadows. This will be capped by internal refurbishment of the head office building next year.
The updated office will accommodate the country’s only automotive product development team capable of fully developing vehicles and continuing to work on high-quality vehicle programs for Australia, Asia-Pacific and other parts of the world.
Recent examples include the Ranger 4WD and the “new Focus”, which is actually an extensive facelift of the current model first released in 2011.
The other car that will lead Ford’s post-Falcon era in Australia is the Mondeo, which is expected to be the company’s main offering as a family car.
Ironically, despite its success overseas, the dominance of the Falcon in Australia meant Mondeo was never going to be more than a bit player. Indeed it dropped out of the local market altogether between 1999 and its return with greater success in 2007.
The popular Australian-built Territory SUV will be replaced by the “all-new” Ford Everest, which is due for its launch here in November. While not being assembled here, it is Australian-designed and engineered.