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The Mercury Cars Guide : August 1st 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009 Ford plans production in Asia for Focus Ford has confirmed that thenew Focus, set for release in 2011, willbe sourced to Asia. NeilMcDonald reports ATTRACTIVE: The 2011 edition of the popular Ford Focus which will be manufactured in at Asian plant. Picture: CARPARAZZI T HE Focus will become Ford Australia’s fourth Asiasourced car. The company already gets the Escape off-roader from Taiwan and Ranger ute out of Thailand, which will be joined mid-2010 by the Fiesta hatch. Now an as-yet unnamed Asian plant will build the next-generation global Focus sedan and hatch for local launch in 2011. ‘‘But in terms of the detail and what location in Asia, it is still to be finalised,’’ says Ford Australia president, Marin Burela. Adecision is expected with- in a few months. Thailand is unlikely despite a $608 million upgrade to the Auto Alliance Thailand (AAT) joint-venture plant at Rayong, south-east of Bangkok. Ford announced earlier this year that the upgrade would allow AAT to lift production capacity from 175,000 to 275,000 vehicles a year, building the Mazda2 and Fiesta for export markets. If AAT had the capacity for Focus, Thailand would be attractive as Australia enjoys a free trade agreement with zero tariffs with the Asian country. Mr Burela backs his deci- sion to cancel local Focus production. He says the global car in- dustry was different back in July 2007 when Ford originally announced it would build 40,000 Focuses a year at Broadmeadows, with 15,000 exported to Asian and African markets. Since then the industry has been rocked by the global financial crisis. ‘‘The economic climate has changed,’’ Mr Burela says. ‘‘When we made this decision in 2007 it was the right decision at that time. Since then the world has changed and the rules have changed completely.’’ The decision to abandon the Focus Broadmeadows’ plan was not taken lightly. ‘‘I think we’re responding absolutely appropriately with the direction that we’re taking,’’ he says. ‘‘We came to the conclusion that tomakeasmall car viable with the right level of technology, feature, content, styling in this country we needed to bring the most competitive levels of opportunity with that vehicle. ‘‘We recognised, after study- ing this to death, that there was just no appropriate way for us to be able to do that by producing the vehicle locally.’’ Mr Burela is confident the next-generation Focus will lift the company’s ability to compete in the C-car segment. ‘‘The C-car segment is very crowded,’’ he says. ‘‘There are 24 different competitors fighting for 180,000 units in this country. The key for success here is you have to make it right, it has to be competitive and it has to have the highest level of technology, features and content. We are so confident we will deliver.’’ Ford cagey on V8 plans WHATis happening with Ford’sV8s? With all the mention of four-cylinder Focusand Falcons, Ford Australia has beenvery quiet about itsV8 line-up. All Ford chief Marin Burela will say is that eight-cylinder engines are the hallmark of Ford performance vehicles. Wesuspect Ford will soon announce its strategy to replace the current 5.4-litre V8ahead of the Euro IV emissions targets. Family matters mayspawnafamily of lowercapacity engines. While the 2.0-litre EcoBoost is astart, the companymayextend the range with smaller butno less powerful EcoBoost engines in the Fiestaand Focus ranging in size from 1.4 to 1.6-litres. Ford executives in Detroit say that by2013,mostof its line-up will have afour-cylinder option for every car andoffroader. LIKE Volkswagen, Ford’s EcoBoost four-cylinder Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au —3
July 25th 2009
August 8th 2009