Ford Australia has further strengthened its reputation as a design hub for the US car-making giant, as hundreds of local Ford employees have invested their expertise and experience in developing the company’s new Ford Escort model targeted at family buyers.
According to the article on The Australian, the new Escort was developed by the 1100-strong Melbourne development team, with dozens of designers and engineers constantly traveling between Melbourne and Nanjing to put the finishing touches on the vehicle.
Trevor Worthington, Ford’s vice president of product development for the Asia Pacific, said the Melbourne development team had a role to play in the company’s feature global plans.
“We have a very competent team of people who have cut their teeth on multiple programs in multiple markets, [who] have got a history of doing things on time with quality,” he said.
“For the foreseeable future the team in Australia are the anchor for any new Asia-specific product that needs to happen.”
The new Ford Escort sedan was unveiled at the Auto China 2014 motor show, which opened on Monday in Beijing, along with a new SUV from Fords Lincoln brand which targets China’s burgeoning luxury market.
“The premium market will still outpace the normal industry,” said Ford Asia-Pacific chief Dave Schoch.
According to the article on Drive, Mr Schoch said Ford would remain present in Australia, albeit in a different capacity, as the company had already decided to pull the plug on the manufacturing operations in the country.
“We have no intention of turning off the lights in Australia. We are turning off the manufacturing lights, you know that, that decision has been made. But we intend to remain in Australia,” he said.
“My intention is for the team to grow, we just won’t have a manufacturing footprint there anymore.”