V8 Supercar’s ‘Car of the Future’ might not be decided at V8 HQ or the next team owners meeting. – it could very well occur in the real Motor City where this week the most important Detroit Auto Show in decades is taking place.
Ford’s worldwide chief executive Alan Mulally announced at the famous Detroit show that only one large car platform would be built for all world markets under the company’s ‘One Ford’ program – following in the footsteps of its small car program.
The new platform would see construction of Australia’s popular Falcon brand, which celebrates its 50th year this year, deleted from production.
Mulally said at the Motor Show that plans are in place to downsize Ford’s range of vehicles.
“The best thing for Ford is to bring our scale and volume [to the market],” Mulally said.
“[Carmakers] 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.”
Ford Australia president Marin Burela spoke to ABC NewsRadio, and confirmed that a decision to end production of the Falcon is “12 to 18 months” away.
“Three months ago I discussed the future directions of the Falcon in Australia with [Ford chief] Alan Mulally, and there is no doubt the Ford company is now considering its future operations of the replacement vehicle of the Falcon – a decision not required for 12 to 18 months,” he told ABC NewsRadio.
“And there is opportunity there for the Australian Government and the Australian motor industry to work with the global leadership of Ford about the future directions of the model replacement for Falcon.
“And I’m absolutely confident that the Australian auto industry, having gone through the worst crisis in three generations and remaining pretty much intact, will continue to play a vital part in Australia’s future.”
What does this mean for V8 Supercar racing, though? V8 Supercars Australia commissioned Mark Skaife to spearhead the ‘Car of the Future’ program last year. That program is currently being worked on to create a cheaper, safer and more common V8 Supercar between brands – possibly opening up the class to more manufacturers outside of Ford and Holden.
A Speedcafe.com.au insider said that it’s a ‘non-issue’ at the moment for V8 Supercars. The big question, however, is if Ford will stay in the sport …
“I don’t see it being a big issue for V8 Supercars,” the insider said.
“Who knows what the Falcon’s make up will be in five years time – and who knows what the Commodore is going to look like.
“The Ford V8 teams could easily go and put a Mondeo or Tauras external surface on the car and it wouldn’t matter.
“The V8 category is red versus blue. At the moment, Ford’s race car is called a Falcon. If it happens to be called a Tauras or a Mondeo in 2015, does it really make a difference?
“It’s more a question of whether Ford will continue in motorsport in five or 10 years time, rather than what model is being produced for the road.”