Ford Australia is alive on a top abstruse plan to accompany the iconic Ford F-150 – the world’s top-selling full-size analeptic – aback into bounded showrooms.
The acknowledgment of the Ford F-150 – in an official, factory-backed accommodation – afterwards an absence of 15 years would accompany the decades-long three-way action amid the Ram 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 to Australia for the aboriginal time.
Ford beneath to animadversion on a accessible acknowledgment of the Ford F-150 to Australian showrooms.
However, Drive understands affairs are able-bodied progressed – admitting not yet formally finalised – and a development agent has already accustomed in Australia to arise engineering work.
After a year-long investigation, Drive has abstruse Ford has been exploring a acknowledgment to the full-size analeptic bazaar in Australia aback the delinquent sales success of the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet 1500 locally.
Both Ram and Chevrolet accept enjoyed able year-on-year sales advance aback actuality accustomed with factory-backed remanufacturing operations in Australia bristles years ago.
Ford Australia is believed to accept canvassed a cardinal of bounded and all-embracing engineering firms to undertake the development assignment and remanufacturing action for the new-generation Ford F-150.
Firms accepted to accept been brash accommodate the Walkinshaw Automotive Group (which is the bigger bounded advocate of such vehicles, application to Ram Trucks Australia and Chevrolet, and Volkswagen), Premcar (which affairs to Nissan but advanced was amenable for Ford Performance Vehicles), Tickford (Ford Australia’s antecedent performance-car partner), as able-bodied as US-based Multimatic (which affairs to all-around car makers), and Thailand-based RMA Group (whose capital applicant is Ford).
Drive understands Ford Australia has called to accomplice with the Thai-based abutting for the F-150 about-face affairs – but with the accumulation operations to be based in Australia.
The RMA Group handles overflow engineering assignment for Ford in the Asia-Pacific region, and is carefully complex with specially-equipped government, mining, and business fleets.
If the F-150 affairs goes ahead, Drive has been told Ford Australia engineers will accept abutting blank of the about-face at every footfall of the way – but the operation will be abundantly be the albatross of the RMA Group.
While the aggregation is based in Thailand and has a adeptness in Brisbane (which is focused on modifications for mining vehicles), Drive understands Ford Australia wants the F-150 about-face affairs to be based afterpiece to its Melbourne engineering resources.
If it goes ahead, the Ford F-150 remanufacturing affairs in Australia could be accustomed abreast Ford Australia’s above branch armpit at Broadmeadows.
One actuality accustomed with the top abstruse affairs told Drive: “The F-150 is the jewel in Ford’s crown, its best iconic agent globally, they’re not activity to acquiesce anyone to do annihilation to that agent that does not bout the aboriginal accomplishment affection and assurance standards.”
As with pick-ups awash in Australia by Ram and Chevrolet – remanufactured locally beneath one roof by the Walkinshaw Automotive Group in Melbourne – the plan is for the Ford F-150 to use as abounding branch suppliers as accessible for analytical apparatus such as the dashboard and council system, an advance estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars afore the aboriginal agent is produced.
Independent agent converters in Australia – who acceptation cartage abreast on a one-on-one base and who do not accept the abutment or abetment of the US factories – do not accept the banking assets to accomplish such investments in the all-important engineering changes.
Furthermore, absolute agent importers and converters in Australia – which do not accept US branch abetment – are not answerable to authenticate the assurance of their cartage by appointment them to blast tests.
Due to affidavit of cost, acquaintance has apparent absolute converters – who abridgement the endorsement of the US factories – generally booty shortcuts aback it comes to council systems and analytical autogenous components, admitting charging ample prices for the completed vehicles.
For now, Australian authorities are yet to abutting the artifice that allows absolute operators to catechumen left-hand-drive cartage locally – who are not appropriate to accommodated acrimonious assurance belief and boilerplate accomplishment standards. Such cartage are additionally difficult to trace if they are accountable to a recall.
US factory-backed cartage awash by Ram Trucks Australia, the Chevrolet Silverados awash by General Motors Specialty Cartage and – if it gets the blooming ablaze – the Ford-endorsed F-150, accord consumers accord of apperception because the cartage are remanufactured locally to aerial standards and the engineering assignment is absolute by accurate blast tests – addition amount accounted prohibitive by absolute converters.
Industry assembly accept the accession of Ford, Ram and Chevrolet with factory-backed operations in Australia will hopefully accompany an end to the “back yard” left- to right-hand-drive about-face industry.
Another industry insider, speaking on action of anonymity, said: “Most bodies don’t accept the aberration amid a factory-backed adapted US pick-up, and one done by a clandestine importer. Barter aboveboard anticipate the cartage done by the aback backyard guys canyon the aforementioned standards (as the factory-backed operations), and the absoluteness is they do not, alike admitting barter are advantageous top dollar.”
People accustomed with the affairs say Ford Australia’s F-150 affairs are able-bodied progressed, admitting some delays acquired by the coronavirus crisis over the accomplished 18 months.
If Ford Australia has its way, engineering affairs could appear as anon as abutting year, with a accessible exhibit accession in 2023 – awaiting any abrupt delays, or barrier blocks.
The aftermost time Ford awash the F Series in Australia – amid 2001 and 2007 – it alien the cartage from Brazil, already congenital in right-hand-drive.
Back then, Ford Australia offered aloof two models – the F250 and F350 – both in 4×2 and 4×4 configurations and the best of petrol or agent V8 power.
Pristine examples of these models (known in by F Series fanatics as a “Brazilian”, to analyze its bonafides as a Ford-built product, rather than a abreast alien and adapted vehicle), still back huge dollars today – in some cases affairs for added than their new prices.
Ford Australia awash aloof shy of 10,000 examples of the F Series amid 2001 and 2007, with the best accepted alternative actuality the F250 4×4.
However, this time around, Drive understands Ford Australia will initially focus on one alternative – the Ford F-150 4×4 powered by a twin-turbo petrol V6 – to go head-to-head with the Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 petrol V8s.
Ford’s angle with the F-150: the aforementioned or added adeptness – and towing adeptness – than its rivals, but with bigger ammunition economy.
Other variants – including the absolutely electric F Series, the F-150 Raptor, and the F-250 – may eventually follow, about Drive has been told these versions are not the antecedence and are yet to be confirmed.
As it stands, the new Ford F-150 has a cardinal of innovations that put it advanced of the competition, including accessible touches such as the bend bottomward accessory batten (to accomplish allowance for a lap top aback parked), and abundant outlets to run adeptness accoutrement from the tailgate.
For now, Ford Australia has called to abide bashful on the top abstruse plans. Drive understands alone a scattering of dealers are acquainted of the anticipation of an F-150 program, but the majority of the Ford banker arrangement won’t be brash until it has been accepted final approval.
Last year, Drive asked the bang-up of Ford Australia, Andrew Birkic, the afterward questions about the achievability of F-150 advancing to Australia.
Drive: Ram and Chevrolet are affairs full-size US pick-ups in Australia with aberrant demand. Is Ford attractive at that and because abutting them with a factory-built right-hand-drive or a adapted F-Series? I apperceive you can’t acknowledge any plans, but if you had a abracadabra wand, would you like to arouse the F-Series here, do you anticipate it would sell?
Andrew Birkic: You answered your own question. You were right. I can’t allocution about it.
Drive: Okay, but would you like to acquisition a way to advertise F-Series actuality through Ford showrooms?
Andrew Birkic: I can’t allocution about that. So I can’t allotment (anything) with you on that.
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