It appears that Ford has started importing some rear-wheel-drive prototypes from Australia into its U.S. engineering operations. The spies at KGP Photography caught this prototype for the next-generation Australian Ford Falcon at one of Ford's Detroit engineering centers, being unloaded from a shipping container.
The packaging looks consistent with a car that has just made a trip across the ocean–in either a boat or a cargo plane.
The appearance of this rear-wheel-drive prototype seems to support rumors that Ford is looking to Australia for much of its rear-wheel-drive future — a move eerily similar to GM's reliance on Holden to take the engineering lead on the Pontiac G8, Chevy Camaro, and the likely GTO and Impala spin-offs that are due to use GM's Zeta architecture.
Ford's plans appear to be a little less locked-in than GM's, but some pundits say that the 2009-2010 Mustang may share some Aussie DNA. And if a rear-wheel-drive replacement for Ford's Crown Victoria is to come about, it will likely rely heavily on the new Falcon.
On Ford's own media website, Australia's growing importance in Ford's global product plans was touted through a hopeful press release, which said: "An all-new Falcon model and future Territory models will form the basis of potential export opportunities for Ford Australia's globally competitive large rear-wheel drive vehicle platform…. The addition of left-hand drive engineering capability to our product development team will provide significant experience and assist us to develop a viable export program for our world class rear-wheel drive architecture."
Something definitely appears to be stirring in Dearborn, and this Falcon prototype showing up in Detroit looks to be our first sign that things have progressed beyond mere talk.
Photo Of Ford Falcon Courtesy Of KGP Photography & Leftlane News