Kamis, 10 Mei 2007
The Ford Fairlane/LTD has finally had its day
One of Australia's longest-running nameplates is dead.
Ford today bowed to the inevitable by withdrawing its luxury twins, the Fairlane and LTD sedans, from production in response to falling sales.
Ford Australia president Tom Gorman made the announcement this morning in a statement issued ahead of a monthly media briefing
"A significant decline in sales of vehicles in the upper large segment over the past few years has meant that local production of long wheelbase variants, primarily for domestic sale only, is currently no longer sustainable," Gorman said.
"The emotion of this decision has been very difficult. Sometimes the hard decision and the right decision are the same one."
The last Fairlane/LTD will be built either late in 2007 or early 2008, ahead of the arrival of the heavily-revised Falon - codenamed Orion - around March 2008.
The move comes as no surprise to drive.com.au, which revealed that Ford was weighing up the future of the Fairlane and LTD as far back as April 2006
Gorman told drive.com.au at the time: "We have to seriously consider whether replacing the Fairlane and LTD is an appropriate place to invest funds going forward".
Now, it's a done deal - the Fairlane and LTD are dead.
The role of flagship in the Ford line-up falls to the $51,490 Fairmont Ghia V8, effectively a tarted-up Falcon.
The decision to axe the Fairlane comes exactly 40 years after the first model emerged from Ford's Broadmeadows factory on the northern outskirts of Melbourne.
However, the Fairlane nameplate first appeared in Australia on imported Fords in 1959.
"The Fairlane nameplate has been a key part of the Ford line-up since 1967," said Gorman, "when the ZA Fairlane ... created a whole new market segment in the process. "
Since then the Fairlane and LTD (added in 1973) have been influential as the flagships of Ford's Australian-made Falcon range, alongside which it has evolved.
These long-wheelbase prestige sedans have occupied a special place among affluent Australians and Ford enthusiasts, and the Fairlane has even been a regular vehicle of choice for Australian Prime Ministers.
Now, it seems Prime Minister John Howard's decision over his next long wheelbase limousine just got a whole lot easier. Only Holden offers locally produced models in this market segment; the Holden Statesman and Caprice.