Falcon inline six fans can rejoice after Ford Australia announced today it has shelved plans to replace the Falcon’s Australian-developed inline six-cylinder with an American V6
The change was planned for the 2010 model year, and Ford had intended closing Victoria’s Geelong Engine Plant which makes the inline six and employs 400 people.
It’s unclear yet whether the all-new Falcon planned for 2010 has also been shelved to be replaced by a facelifted version of the current FG.
Ford announced this afternoon that the Geelong engine factory will remain open post-2010 and continue producing the inline six.
Engineers will start work on making the motor compatible with Euro IV emission standards.
Ford will invest $Au21 million in plant and equipment at Geelong. That’s on top of the $Au200 million the company has invested at Geelong since 2006 and will supplement the company's ongoing Geelong-based stamping plant, Research and Development centre and Vehicle Proving Ground.
"This decision is good news, not only for our employees in Geelong, our suppliers and the surrounding community, but also for the many fans of our I6 engine," says Ford Australia CEO, Marin Burela. The inline six is used by the Territory SUV as well as the Falcon.
Retaining the engine plant is expected to provide stability to Geelong businesses. Australian component suppliers will also benefit from the continued requirement for engine components, including intake manifolds, pistons, gaskets and bearings.
"This is the first step in a broad product investment strategy to reduce emissions and deliver improved fuel economy across our locally built vehicle line-up, including Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory," Burela said.
Ford believes that the Federal Government's new Green Car Innovation Fund provides a framework for the company to investigate an additional range of environmentally-oriented product investment initiatives which, when combined with emissions improvements to the I6 engine, will increase future competitiveness.
“Our I6 engine continues to receive rave reviews for its performance, fuel economy and quietness,” said Burela. “Keeping this engine in our product line-up will allow us to maintain our competitive edge and provide a distinct advantage over our direct competition.”