• Jul 10, 2007


Ford's Australian subsidiary pales in comparison to its European and American divisions but the small Aussie outcrop has over the years produced some of the best vehicles within the Blue Oval's global empire, including a unique RWD V8-powered saloon and a midsized SUV. We may soon be able to add a third car to that list, as execs down under are hoping to another model to their production line.

Consumers in Australia, faced with rising fuel prices and increasing congestion in major cities, are turning away from the traditional large family cars in droves and are heading towards smaller and more economical compacts. Unfortunately, Ford has to rely on expensive imports to satisfy that demand, but According to Drive, production of a third model is being considered to fill the gap.

There's no word on what this third model will be but the smart money is on it being one of Ford's European stars, either the Focus or Fiesta models, which could arrive as knocked down kit cars to be assembled locally.

We wonder if a small European compact can save Ford's production in the land of Mad Max and the V8 Interceptors.

[Source: Drive]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hope you're being sarcastic because no one can really be that pissed off that Ford is looking to fill plant capacity in Australia. It's not like Ford is designing a whole new car, they're just trying to figure out what to build there. Next you'll be telling me that Ford trying to secure additional funding in the bond market is cause for a boycott.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "We wonder if a small European compact can save Ford's production in the land of Mad Max and the V8 Interceptors."

      You obviously have no idea what Australia and the local auto is really like. Locally produced cars are all 6-cylinders (aside from the Camry) and consumers have started turning their back on them for some time now.
      • 7 Years Ago

      Also they could sell the Euro Focus as a Mercury and charge a small premium for it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well i guess if you really want a focus you should go to mexico and import one form over there. I dont get why they dont just build them in mexico and then export them over to the u.s. like they do with the fusion. I mean this company has some great products that are easily better than any toyotas or hondas, but the problem with ford is somewhere in their accounting department.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If you want a Euro Focus, go get a Mazda3 or a Volvo C30.

        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm no expert, but from what I've read here and around the auto-blog-o-sphere that Ford has determined that not enough people will pay a premium price for a Ford branded C1 platform vehicle.

        I remember seeing the C1 Focus in Ireland last year and going nuts. The fact that Europe has the C1 Focus and we have the old 1999 Focus platform in NA directly influenced my decision *not* to buy a Focus last year when I was in the market for a small economy car. So, I agree with you. However, Ford doesn't see things our way.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford Australia is producing v8 as well. The 2008 ford orion, will be a bigger and lighter and more fuel efficient. The Bf modal now matches the camry in fuel efficiency.
        • 7 Years Ago
        yeah sorry i forgot about that but i think this is a great idea since there hasn't been a small car produce here in over a decade.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford is trying is cause for a boycott.
        • 7 Years Ago
        if ford decides to bring there european cars to the us they will go bankrup because people wont buy an expensive ford car...
      • 7 Years Ago
      There is no question that Ford's "small" European cars are not "cheap" for those of us living in countries with declining currency values. But, I think that North America (Canada should be included) is ready for smaller, more luxurious cars. The Audi A3 is out at the high-end (30K with a 55% residual value after three years -- yikes) -- but a 22-24K nicely-equipped Euro-Focus is not out of our leagues. Europe has a nice compromise of small cars/small engines with nice, comfortable, hip interiors. We need to escape the mindset that small cars need to be CHEAP on the inside and outside.

      No. 1 has a point. US automakers have seen this spike in gas prices for at least three years now -- about how long it is to bring a car from design to market. The fact that there is no newer competitive product (leaving aside the stone-age Focus and yawn-athon Cobalt) to the Prius / Civic / Fit / Mini / Rabbit / Sentra is horrible. What are worse are the EXCUSES that Lutz gives for "no money in small cars in America, etc." Horrible short-term thinking! Those of us between the ages of 22-33 are the FUTURE of automobile tastes and the future market. We have been neglected by US automakers. So when my roommate goes out and buys a Honda Fit because there is no other American option, you may have lost him on US cars for good.

      In Canada over the weekend, we witnessed another smaller-car failure. The Chevy Optra (Suzuki here in US) has the good looks of an A3 but with TERRIBLE 2.0L engine (below average fuel economy for the class), CHEAP interior, and already DATED looks. Would have been another good interim candidate for the NA youth market. Looks like GM/Daewoo just did not want to make the investment.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Johnny Rocket,

        I OWN a Ford Fusion I4 FWD Manual, and I genuinely enjoy it. It is a GREAT car -- Ford cannot get enough credit for this. However, I drive 90% city and I get about 20mpg. That is not enough. BTW -- Where was the hybrid version this year? Where was the PERFORMANCE version? AWD makes the car heavier and less fuel-efficient and is generally useless for people who live in flat areas of the country. At the same time, in almost two years of production, the Fusion has not convinced that many Japanese mid-sized sedan owners to switch over, given the skyrocketing sales numbers of the Camry, Accord, and Altima.

        The Aveo is utter crap -- not even on my list. It may be the cheapest, but it is worst in its class in almost every category (esp. fuel economy). It is insulting that GM goes to Daewoo instead of the stylish Opel Corsa. GM could have had Daewoo assemble NA Corsas. Geez, look at Hyundai -- another Korean manufacturer which is light years ahead of Daewoo.

        The Caliber is crap. Another insult. Cheap interiors, not fuel-efficient, and ugly to boot.

        Many people have observed this: When gas prices spiked, Japanese mini-cars were here in a HEARTBEAT. Maybe they were slated to come here all along. Who knows? Who cares? They are selling like hotcakes, and there is no competitive GM / FORD answer. Not even on the HORIZON. The Saturn Astra (although it is a sweet, sweet car) will suffer the same growing pains as the Aura -- the conservative car-buying majority will pass it up for more "reliable" brands or more "established" cars (here, Corolla, Sentra, Civic, Fit, Yaris) until the Astra can prove its reliability.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I disagree with you almost completely. Unlike Honda, Chevrolet offers an optional supercharger for the ECOTEC I-4, which can handily outpace a Civic Si for less money. The Fit is not a new car; it is the US version of the Euro Jazz. (No new thinking there.) GM offers the Aveo, the cheapest gasoline-powered car on the market. Yes, Detroit's Big Three are not focused on small cars as much as the Japanese. Ford's Fusion, with AWD and a V-6, is an excellent package. Ford has promoted C&D's small car test that had the Fusion beating out the Civic and Corolla. Even Consumer Reports lavished praise on the Fusion's speed, interior, and handling. For all the flack Chrysler has received, the Caliber and Compass offer both a CVT and AWD for a low price. The Caliber SRT-4 is set to preserve Dodge's record of having the quickest low-priced sport compact.

        Gas prices have been high for just over two years now--that is not enough time to design, develop, and distribute a vehicle. The minimum is about three years. When people make claims about concepts, such as the GT40 and SSR, they ignore or are unaware of the fact that the building of the concepts to the design layouts (if there was an initial intention to build for production) were anywhere from one to two years before the concept debut.
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