Ford's Australian performance division ends production after more than 20 years with one last Falcon GT.
Australia has long been known for building the muscle car sedans that Americans still crave but have been deprived of time and time again. Although Chevrolet's upcoming V8-powered SS sedan is on the horizon, Ford hasn't had a true rear-wheel-drive performance sedan in the US for decades. Sure, there's the Taurus SHO, and as fine a car as it is, it's still not quite the same. Now Australians can share American sorrows.
It has just been announced that Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV), the official tuning division of Ford Australia, has shut its doors after building one last Falcon GT. Since its founding 21 years ago, Melbourne-based FPV has built around 100,000 vehicles, including many performance Falcons. It's had a few name changes over the year since its initial founding in 1991, but it was rebranded FPV in 2002 when Prodrive bought a majority stake. That stake was sold last summer back to Ford, which in turn has decided to transfer production of all performance models to its facility. As a result, most of FPV's 140-member staff has been let go.
The likely plan going forward is for the base Falcon sedan to be replaced in 2014 by a rebadged Taurus, effectively ending rear-wheel-drive big Fords in Australia. The reason is that like many other global markets, Australians too are more interested in buying smaller and more fuel efficient front-wheel-drive cars like the Focus. Whatever the reason, though, this is without question the end of an era that will likely never return.