American police almost came to the rescue of the Australian auto industry.
Ford is set to end automobile production in Australia on October 7th, but things may have been different if the local arm of the automaker had its way. Twice during the past decade, Ford Australia pitched the idea of sending its Falcon sedan to the United States to replace the Crown Victoria as its police car, News Corp Australia reports.
Like the Crown Vic, the Falcon is a rear-wheel-drive sedan, but one issue complicating things was that the Falcon is right-hand-drive, so the company would’ve needed to make a major investment to move the steering wheel to the left for U.S. use.
Discussions where had in 2005 and again in 2009, just before Ford retired the Crown Vic in 2011. The Australian executives projected exports of over 70,000 cars annually, plus local sales, which would’ve secured its factory’s future for the next 20 years, at least. Instead, Ford HQ decided to replace the Crown Vic with police versions of the American-made Taurus sedan and Explorer SUV.
It may have been the right call.
Following the model of Ford’s plan to a T, General Motors stared exporting its Australian-made Caprice sedan to the United States in 2012 as a Chevrolet police car. Last year it sold 3,727, while Ford sold 34,707 Taurus and Explorer-based Interceptors combined.
General Motors will also stop manufacturing cars in Australia in 2017.
Ironically, Ford shipped its American-made Mustang to the New South Wales Police earlier this year to be evaluated as a replacement for the Falcon. The unmodified muscle car failed miserably, with its transmission overheating after just three minutes of simulated hot pursuit. As a result, the force will likely be switching to sedans and wagons made by Volvo, a company once owned by Ford.