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Tue, 13 Aug 2013 19:02:00 EST
Ford has been in hot water in Australia ever since it announced plans to end local production of the Falcon and Territory SUV. Besides canceling a model that is to Oz what the Mustang is to America, the end of production means more than a few folks will be out of work.
Tue, 05 Nov 2013 13:32:00 EST
Keen to prove that it has a plan for the market, Ford has unveiled the Aussie-penned Everest Concept, a rough-and-tumble, seven-seat SUV. While not a direct replacement for the aging Territory (that role will eventually be filled by either the Edge or Flex, according to Car Advice) it's an indication from Ford's brass that the Blue Oval is still committed to Australia.
To prove that fact, Alan Mullaly, Mark Fields, Jim Farley and regional execs descended on Sydney for the debut of the new concept. Ford's Australian president and CEO, Bob Graziano, said of the Everest, "Our customers, our employees and Australia can be assured that we're connected to the nation and committed to our customers through terrific products with class-leading technologies."
Ford's highly influential head of design, J Mays, has announced that he'll be retiring from his position after 33 years in the industry, 16 of which were at the Dearborn, MI-based company. Upon departure, he'll be succeeded as group vice president of design by Moray Callum. If that last name sounds familiar, yes, he's the brother of Jaguar's Ian Callum.
Sun, 11 Aug 2013 08:52:00 EST
It's difficult to explain just how big of a role Mays had on not just Ford's design over the years, but on the entire industry. Before heading to Dearborn, Mays worked for Audi, BMW and then Volkswagen, where he was involved in concept cars that paved the way for design icons like the first-generation Audi TT and the Volkswagen New Beetle. As for his Ford resume, it's extensive.
Mays joined the company in 1997 as design director for Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Mazda, as well as the Premier Automotive Group (Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin). He was heavily involved in the Ford Fusion, Focus, Fiesta, Taurus, F-150 and Mustang, while also contributing to concept cars like the Atlas, Evos, 427, Forty-Nine, Shelby GR-1, Lincoln MKZ and the MKC.
As the smallest team in the sport, it wasn't really a surprise when Dodge decided to pull out of NASCAR, but Autoweek is reporting that Ford is looking to pull the plug on its professional-level NHRA sponsorships following the 2014 season. With attendance and television ratings down, the article reports that Ford is just backing out of the top series but will remain active in the Sportsman classes of racing, which are geared more toward the grassroots and semi-professional racers.
This means that one of drag racing's biggest names, John Force, will be left looking for new sponsorship after next season. Force, 64, has been with Ford for 17 years, winning 15 championships in that time and winning almost half of all Funny Car events in his Mustang since he started working with Ford in 1997, but after 2014, there could be some big shakeups at John Force Racing.
According to the report, Force would consider is moving over to the Top Fuel dragster series, although he could also move to another manufacturer to remain in the Funny Car series. With Ford on the way out, this leaves just Toyota and Dodge as the remaining active automakers in the highest levels of drag racing.