Now that we are nearing the E241 Ford Falcon launch in New Zealand, and in response to a comment Robin made about an earlier blog post I made on the subject, I Googled the dimensions of the new car and compared them with the CD345 Mondeo.
I’d been wanting to do this around the time of the Australian launch and now I see why the details were so darned hard to come by. There was nothing on the Ford Australia site at the time of launch.
Ford uses tags such as CD and E to signify the size of car, so the Ford Ka is B class, the Focus is C, the Mondeo and Fusion are CD, and the Taurus is D. Falcon, traditionally the biggest car, is E (as is the Territory SUV). Minivans are given the V tag.
Here’s the kicker: the Mondeo is bigger than the Falcon in overall dimensions with the exception of length, which might not mean much to buyers interested in a car’s packaging. They want to know wheelbase and width, and interior volume (which I did not look up).
L: 4,955 mm (up 25 mm from last EA169)
W: 1,868 mm (up 4 mm)
H: 1,453 mm (up 9 mm)
Wheelbase: 2,838 mm (up 9 mm)
L: 4,778 mm
W: 1,886 mm
H: 1,500 mm
Wheelbase: 2,850 mm
Ford and the other manufacturers know that ultimately, people judge a car’s size by engine capacity, in which case the Falcon’s base four-litre unit is more substantial than the Mondeo’s base two-litre (in the New Zealand market).
Hence, the Chevrolet Impala also suffers from the tape measure stakes compared to the new Malibu in the US—but the Impala is not exactly a new car. Here we are talking about a brand-new design that, in global terms, should be bigger than the Mondeo.
If you start looking at the Mondeo Turnier (wagon or estate), the measurements are even more substantial for length and height.
Ford was probably wise not to renew the EA169 Falcon wagon this year, and leave it as a workhorse model. The Mondeo Turnier probably suits that market very well anyway and with the diesels, it will appeal to ﬂeets.
But it is tempting to start talking about the death of the full-size Australian car when the mid-size European car can no longer be considered mid-sized.
Ford is now integrating its Australian operation into its global R&D anyway, but somehow I do not think Dearborn sees it as a centre of excellence for big cars as GM sees its Holden outpost.
Instead, I suspect Ford sees Broadmeadows as a place where it can speak English to engineers who can design for the entire Asia-Paciﬁc market, including Red China.
I know that every 20–5 years there’s noise about the present Falcon being the last all-Australian car. In the late 1970s, there were thoughts about replacing the Blackwood (XD–XF) Falcon with a stretched Mazda Capella, under Project Capricorn. It never happened, but Ford was serious.
Ford may yet discover there’s demand left for a full-size, rear-wheel-drive car and Australia and North America might team up on a replacement for the E241 Falcon and the Crown Victoria, but it’s usually been slow on the uptake when it comes to this segment. Already it has sacriﬁced part of that market to Dodge in the US, especially for police cruisers; the demise of the Fairlane and LTD Down Under means Holden will pick up that business; and when the Lincoln Town Car ﬁnally dies, where will those customers go?
For sentimental reasons, there is room for a rear-wheel-drive, big Ford. And I’m willing to bet that the Red Chinese, with their love of big Mercedes-Benzes and even the rebadged Holden Statesman (Buick Park Avenue there), won’t be arguing if Ford puts one their way. It makes economic sense, but I wonder if Dearborn is listening. Posted by Jack Yan, 05:07
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