FORD has raised the white flag in its 33-year sales fight against the Holden Commodore.
The company is aiming to improve sales of its Falcon large car during the next year with a range of updates that include a styling refresh and a new four-cylinder engine variant but the maker admits it won't ever overtake Commodore sales.
Ford Australia vice-president of marketing, sales and service, Beth Donovan, says the Commodore's extra Sportwagon body style gives it an unassailable advantage.
''As a nameplate, we'll never outsell Commodore again because we'd have to outsell all those wagons as well,'' she says.
''But remember, our wagon is Mondeo wagon and in some ways you could make the argument that we fill all that space not just with that but also the Territory .''
Ford Australia discontinued the Falcon wagon last year, having decided not to introduce an all-new version in 2008.
The Commodore continues to dominate and has been Australia's best-selling car for 15 years, though the Falcon has had the occasional monthly success when comparing sedan sales only.
A new LPG engine has been added to the Falcon line-up and the four-cylinder petrol engine is expected to lower fuel economy to about 8.0 litres per 100 kilometres.
Donovan believes the four-cylinder will be a ''game changer'' but admits there's only so much that can be done to lift sales.
''[The segment's] down 53 per cent in 10 years,'' she says. ''It doesn't matter what dress you wear to the dance on that one.''
Ford is yet to confirm the long-term future of the Falcon, with one option being to replace it with the US-designed Taurus.
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