Ford fans miss out on fresh FPV machines

By Matt Greenop

Ford Performance Vehicles Pursuit ute will not be sold in New Zealand.
Ford Performance Vehicles Pursuit ute will not be sold in New Zealand.

Fans of fire-breathing Fords will be fuming at the hot new metal coming out of the Aussie giant's go-fast partner FPV - because we're not getting it.

Ford Performance Vehicles this week announced two new machines, but Ford New Zealand says neither the R-Spec Falcon GT nor the resurrected Pursuit ute will go on sale here. But that isn't the big issue, as FPV figures out its very future.

FPV hasn't performed to the level expected from the joint venture between Prodrive and Ford Australia, and it was restructured in May.

Managing director Bryan Mears this week told that the company would persevere with large, powerful versions of the Falcon.

"While the market has changed and a lot of Australians are saying they don't want to buy a big rear-wheel drive vehicle, there's still a part of the market that says, 'Hey! We really want this sort of car'," said Mears.

"So if we didn't produce this type of vehicle, if we didn't keep renewing ourselves and developing vehicles that people want, then obviously we would be out of business."

He wouldn't be drawn on whether or not the company was developing any vehicles using Ford's turbocharged EcoBoost engine range, which pushes impressive power out of a relatively small capacity - a 2-litre, four-cylinder drives three Falcon models, and a 1-litre three-cylinder is used in the Focus hatch.

The company has also scotched rumours of a return of the thirsty FPV Territory SUV.

Mears told GoAuto that the company aims to crack 2000 annual sales mark, although the struggling tuner is very short of that goal.

With recent sweeping cutbacks at Ford Australia, and the end of the Falcon model itself looming, where FPV will go from here is anyone's guess.

The two new cars could affect the company's goals - with 75 Pursuit utilities built to take on Holden Special Vehicle's 6.2-litre Maloo utes, which have just been updated and released in two configurations. The Pursuits will not be sold here as the market is moving quickly to four-wheel-drive utes and leaving the traditional, car-based ute in the dust for both marques.

The R-Spec Falcon GT, which is no more powerful than existing 335kW models already sold here, will sit between the GT and high-spec GT-P and GT-E versions. It does gain a new launch control system, enabled at ignition, a much-needed suspension upgrade, with new springs and retuned shocks at the rear, new control arms and a thicker anti-roll bar. The front end also gets modified dampers and improved upper strut mounts and control arm bushes, which will likely reduce front-end bounce.

Ford New Zealand says it is not yet clear if vehicles could be ordered for New Zealand buyers, as Aussie stock appears to be moving very quickly.

- NZ Herald

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