THE Ford Falcon started its farewell tour this week.
The death knell has sounded for Australian automotive manufacturing and the FG X launched this week marks the end of a Falcon era which first began in 1960.
And if the cars we drove this week in rural Victoria are any indication, the Falcon, together with the Territory, will end on a high with local production scheduled to finish in October 2016.
Final iterations are confident and dynamic offerings with a long list of technical gizmos aboard, all at lower prices than the outgoing models.
New Falcons wear large grins on the grille which toes the corporate design line while the remainder is essentially untouched.
Headlining the Falcon range is the XR8, which makes a triumphant return much to the pleasure of fans who have been lining up to get hold of the burly muscle car since pricing of $52,490 was announced two months ago.
"We are seeing early interest just in the XR8 because it's new and it's back," Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano said.
"As with most of our vehicles they sell themselves. Once you get behind the wheel and you experience how good the driving dynamics are and the technology we have added to these vehicles…so I think they'll do well."
Ford admits it has undercooked the demand, and given Holden is maintaining strong sales from its V8 derivatives, it looks like Aussies still have ample love for the eight-potters.
There was no better demonstration of that fact when we had the big beast on full drift, with bucketloads of torque on tap as we danced around witches hats on a makeshift motorkhana course at Winton Raceway.
This is old-school muscle. Turn off the traction control and let the rear wheels to the talking.
And that augers well for the imminent arrival of one of the most anticipated models scheduled to arrive next year - Mustang.
Already there are more than 15,000 "hand raisers" wanting more information closer to its arrival. Some dealers have already taken deposits despite customers not knowing pricing or full draintrain configurations.
"It's (Mustang) such an iconic brand that it brings people into the dealerships," Mr Graziano said.
"That's what we're trying to do, there are a lot of folks out there in Australia that have a perception of the Ford brand that is quite dated. They are relying on other people's perception.
"We encourage them to get out to the dealerships and experience the product.
"There is such an amazing amount of choice for consumers out there in Australia. With the produce we have there now or coming, it's all around ensuring the consumer has that power of choice, regardless of where they are in their lifecycle …anything they need will be there in the showroom."
Next year is shaping as a busy one for the Blue Oval, with the new medium-size Mondeo, Everest SUV and the Mustang all scheduled for a 2015 arrival.
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