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The Mercury Cars Guide : May 23rd 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009 Beaut ute put through its paces Ford Australia is about to challenge the world withalocally- developed HiLux fighter.ByJamesStanford THEAustralian-made ute, Co- denamed T6 and close in size to the Ford F150 than today’s Ranger, is expected to gener- ate $700 million in research- and-development revenue for Broadmeadows. Global production will top 400,000 vehicles a year. The T6 is outed by the Carsguide today after being caught during test runs near Geelong. But there is one catch—the T6 will not be built in Austra- lia. Instead, the mechanical package that has been de- signed, developed, tested and proven in Australia will be put into production in Thai- land and South Africa as Ford Australia continues with its local focus on the Falcon and Territory, as well as building the compact Focus from 2011. The new commercial ve- hicle is expected to be sold in more than 80 countries and perhaps even into the USA as a stablemate for the F-Series trucks. The crucial blue oval rival to the best-selling Toyota Hi- Lux is being developed in Victoria by a team of 450 engineers spread across Ford’s facilities at Geelong, Campbellfield and the You Yangs proving ground. The ute, which will be built as both a Ford and a Mazda, is still up to two years away from production. The Carsguide photogra- pher caught the vehicles on back roads near Geelong trav- elling with a current-model D40 Nissan Navara dual-cab ute which is probably being used for benchmarking and comparison tests. The convoy included a left- hand-drive vehicle, a king cab and a larger dual-cab. a turbo diesel engine. It is clear from the pictures that the T6 prototypes utilise leaf springs at the rear for serious load carrying capaci- ty. The images also show the new vehicle will be substan- tially larger than the existing vehicle. The prototypes also feature rear wheelarch extensions UNVEILED: The new Aussie-made Ford T6 ute has been snapped during road testing in Geelong. One of the dual-cab models and wider front guards which have been added in order to handle the wider track. And at least one vehicle ran The existing Ford Ranger and Mazda BT50 models are both based on a 1998 design and are slightly narrower than their key competitors including the HiLux and Nav- ara so it’s clear the new commercial vehicle sets out to correct this. The test mules were also fitted with custom bonnets, which sit higher than the existing model, held down by bonnet pins. in the convoy had a body extension of around 15cm ap- plied to the mid-section of the rear door. Ford Australia is under- standably reluctant to discuss details of the T6 project other than to say it continues to work on the vehicles which will come to market within the next two years. It has just introduced a new Ranger ute, but it is only a face-lifted version of the exist- ing model. The existing Ranger and BT50 twins were developed by Mazda and are made at the Auto Alliance factory at Rayong province in Thailand, a joint venture between the two companies. Ford Motor Company’s re- cent move to sell its stake in Mazda is not expected to affect the T6 project and, while Ford Australia recently cut back engineering staff working on Falcon and Territory projects with a round of voluntary redundancies last year, T6 staff levels were not affected. Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au CARSguide —9 lexus.com.au UP TO 50% TAX BREAK L’Exhibition’09 *Excludes new generation RX. Available on new vehicles only, offer ends May 31, 2009. With exceptional factory backed incentives across the Lexus range* Lexus Premier Sales Event. All the economic stimulus you need. event, L’Exhibition, couldn’t have come at a better time. See your Lexus Dealer today. until May 31, Lexus annual sales e come at a better LEXUS OF HOBART 267Argyle Street, Hobart Ph: 1800 631 298 lexusofhobart.com.au After hour enquires please call Damian Mizzen on 0412 602 677 Valid L1475 LEX07220/HM If you’re a business thinking about buying a new vehicle to take advantage of the Federal Government’s Investment Allowance, things just got better. The Federal Government has announced it will increase the business tax break for vehicles purchased before the end of 2009 to 50% for small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million. The 30% deduction for vehicles purchased before 30 June 2009 will continue to apply for large businesses. For further details, consult your tax advisor.
May 16th 2009
May 30th 2009