Ford Australia RIP?
Australia is home to four major automobile manufacturers whose combined domestic sales total just under 1m cars per year. As this Herald Sun article points out, Ford of Australia faces a stark choice: export or die. At the moment, the automaker is heading in the wrong direction. With a lineup bereft of fuel sippers (sound familiar?), the automaker's Australian sales fell 9.9 percent in the first six months of '06, even as the country's total vehicle sales rose 8.5 percent. Ford is now closing its Geelong plant, ceasing production of its locally built in-line six, switching to a US-sourced V6 engine after 2010. On the positive side, by holstering the U.S. compliant powerplant, Ford of Australia's all-new, rear wheel-drive Falcon (due in 2012) could become a "global car." The article posits that this model could replace the doomed Crown Vic. But will it? Will an unfavorable exchange rate scupper any such plans? Will the Ford corporate mothership even be around to make it so?