Ford Australia announced today it is investing $230 million to improve the fuel efficiency and environmental impact of its Australian-made models, including the first global application of Ford`s advanced 2.0-litre 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine in a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the Ford Falcon.
This continues the global roll-out of EcoBoost, the new technology from Ford that provides consumers with an affordable engine that delivers up to 20 per cent better fuel economy and 15 per cent fewer CO2 emissions.
Ford Australia is taking two other steps, in addition to EcoBoost, to offer consumers more choices for vehicles with better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions:
* In 2010, Ford will introduce an advanced liquid-injection LPG system for the Ford Falcon, providing customers with the most advanced LPG technology on the market and making the Falcon even more attractive to private, taxi and fleet markets.
* The Ford Territory, the only Australian-made SUV, will receive a clean diesel version of Ford`s 2.7-litre turbocharged V6 engine, giving buyers the choice of an engine which improves fuel economy and reduces greenhouse gases.
Today`s announcement is supported by assistance from the Australian Government`s Green Car Innovation Fund and the Victorian State Government. It is in addition to Ford`s previous investment to engineer the company`s locally manufactured I6 engine for compliance with Euro IV emission standards.
Starting in 2011, the iconic Falcon, one of the largest-selling brands in automotive history and the first Australian-made car to be awarded a 5-star ANCAP rating, will become one of the greenest family cars in Australia with EcoBoost. Slated for a range of global vehicles – from small cars to large trucks – EcoBoost uses petrol turbocharged direct-injection technology to deliver improved fuel efficiency, emissions and driving performance versus larger displacement engines.
As the first rear-wheel drive car from Ford to receive the 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder EcoBoost, Falcon is benefiting from the One Ford strategy of accelerating products that customers want and value – and then making those products available on a global basis.
"Today`s announcements put Ford Australia in a strong position for profitable growth in today`s auto industry," said Marin Burela, President & CEO of Ford Australia. "We are ensuring our core Falcon and Territory vehicles will have the most advanced, high-tech and cleanest engines possible. At the same time, this represents the biggest environmental transformation in the fifty-year history of Ford Falcon by giving buyers the newest engine in the Ford Motor Company stable.
"Falcon customers will now have the choice of either the continually popular I6 engine, which will be Euro IV compliant, or one of the first global applications of Ford`s EcoBoost, 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engines, while in a similar timeframe Territory customers will be able to access Ford`s world-class clean diesel engine technology," Burela continued.
Ford Australia also announced that as a result of changing global economic conditions, the company has ended plans to manufacture the Ford Focus in Australia. After assessing the global requirements and costs of producing the next Focus in Australia, Ford determined that the changing economic conditions meant it could not make a business case for profitably manufacturing the car at its operations outside of Melbourne.
Ford`s new strategy allows the company to economically source small cars for the Australian market from overseas locations, while investing in leading-edge technologies to serve its core Falcon and Territory customers. The decision to not make the Focus in Australia will not result in any job losses.
"Although difficult, this is the right decision for Ford Australia," said Burela. "Ford Australia has a strong commitment to manufacturing in this country built on ongoing support from employees, customers, dealers, suppliers and government. Our investments today demonstrate not only our commitment to address climate change – but to bringing leading edge technologies to the Australian market.
"Ford is fully committed to working towards fuel economy leadership in every segment in which we compete, across local and imported vehicles. In fact, later this year we will introduce the most fuel-efficient vehicle in Australia when we launch the Fiesta ECOnetic, which will be more economical than hybrids at only 3.7L/100km," said Burela.
These significant projects add to a continued program of ongoing investment by Ford in the Australian market, including:
* More than $500 million investment in the current FG Falcon range of vehicles.
* Leading design and engineering work on Ford`s next generation compact pickup truck, which will eventually be sold in more than 100 countries.
* More than $80 million invested at the Lara Proving Ground, including building the largest environmental wind tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere.
* $21 million investment in ongoing production of the company`s iconic I6 engine, which will become Euro IV compliant in mid-2010.
"Ford is the only local manufacturer to increase market share in Australia over the past year. Last month, we reinstated two non-production days back into the production schedule as a result of rising demands. In June, Falcon Ute sales were their best since June 2006, the Falcon XR had its best monthly sales on record, and demand for the new-look Territory has exceeded our expectations" said Burela.
The EcoBoost program is part of Ford`s ongoing and wide-ranging global initiative to deliver fuel-efficient powertrain systems with the power and performance found in larger-displacement engines. EcoBoost will be offered on Ford vehicles throughout the world. On sale now in select Ford vehicles in North America, more than 90 per cent of Ford`s North American nameplates will be available with EcoBoost by 2013.
The key to the EcoBoost system is the harmony between the turbochargers and direct-injection fuel system. The turbochargers recover energy from the exhaust that otherwise would have been wasted and put it back in the engine to gain efficiency. Simply, the turbocharging system puts more air into the engine for more power. A compressor increases or "boosts" the pressure of the air entering the engine. An intercooler reduces the air temperature before it enters the engine.
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