FoMoCoNews Editorial: Another step of Ford's Way forward - Ford Inside News Community
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-18-2007, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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FoMoCoNews Editorial: Another step of Ford's Way forward

Another Step of Ford's Way Forward - Ford Consolidates Six Cylinder Engines

By Igor
FoMoCo News Editorial
07/18/2007


Ford Australia announced today that it will close its Geelong engine plant in 2010 as it phases out its local 4.0l I6 engines and replaces it with the modern Duratec (Cyclone) V6 engine.

The old Bara I6 engine had an iron block, but aluminum head, dual independent variable cam timing and other technologies making it one of the most efficient engines among its kind, even though it had the most torque - especially down low. However mostly because of the iron block and its prolonged heating time, the engine would require massive investment to have it pass the "Euro 4" Emissions which are required immediately on all vehicles released after June 2008, and on older models by 2010.

Falcon (Orion) will be purposefully released before the deadline, and Territory and Ute will only receive minor changes, classified locally as "running changes" to bypass the need to meet the stricter emissions before 2010.

While no details are currently available on the version of the Cyclone Australia will be getting, it is almost certain the TwinForce will power the future XR6 Falcon. The new engine is also much more efficient, but produces much less torque and its peak torque is some 2000 rpms higher than the Bara I6; lack of torque is a common complaint with the HF 3.6l over at Holden. Moreover, unlike the inherently balanced I6 design, the V6 is balanced only on the primary axis, not secondary, raising fears of NVH issues - the second main complaint with the Holden/GM HF 3.6l V6. However, the potential of the new Engine, the lower emissions, and gas consumption, the lower weight and better packaging opens up a lot of opportunity for future developments of the engines.

Thus, while we all regret the loss of jobs for the 600 Geelong employees, this is overall good news. It cuts costs for Ford Motor Company, it ensures jobs in United States, the one division of Ford losing the most jobs, and it promises bright future where the Cyclone family of engines receives all the attention this excellent engine deserves.

This engine is shaping up to be the single most important engine family in the empire - propped by three crucial assignments. First, the F150 will debut this winter with the Cyclone as the base engine. Second, Ford recently leaked rumors that going forward there will be no V8 engines in front wheel drive vehicles, instead making the Cyclone and its TwinForce key in Ford's FWD future. Finally, today’s announcement assigns this V6 family also to all future RWD cars based on the Mustang, Orion and future Global RWD architecture. Truly, this engine will be omnipresent in Ford's global lineup.

I have to say, I am very happy with this step for one other simple reason : this step is yet another in eliminating the non sense in FoMoCo's products. Currently, Ford has no less than six (yup 6) unrelated 6 cylinder families:
- Cologne 4.0l V6 in the Mustang
- Essex 4.2l V6 in the F150
- Bara 4.0l I6 in Australian Falcons
- Volvo / PAG 3.0l and 3.2l I6 engines
- Duratec 3.0l V6 in Fusion/Escape and Jaguars
- Duratec / Cyclone 3.5l and 3.7l V6 in US Fords and Lincolns.

This needless complexity is the fat weighing down Ford, and it needs to be cut lose. Luckily, half of the engines listed above are on their last months or years of production - the Essex and Cologne will not go past 2009 model year, and obviously Bara will end in 2010. The 3.0l Duratec will probably continue production as long as Jaguar will want it, but I would not be surprised if Ford asked Jaguar to switch to the Volvo I6, leaving a clean 2 engine lineup in the whole FoMoCo empire:
- Volvo / PAG luxury I6 family
- Ford / Mazda "regular" and performance Cyclone V6

Much better.

Thanks for Reading

Related links: http://www.drive.com.au/Editorial/Ar...rticleID=41783
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-18-2007, 12:05 PM
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Re: FoMoCoNews Editorial: Another step of Ford's Way forward

More related news.

Ford Announces New Engine Direction

CAMPBELLFIELD, Australia, July 18, 2007 -- Ford Australia today announced a key step in a new product manufacturing strategy that will allow the company to achieve production efficiencies and access global economies of scale.

From 2010 Ford Australia will import a global new Duratec V6 engine, including high performance derivatives, for use in the company's locally made Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory model lines. The improved economies of scale resulting from the globally-sourced engine will offer increased flexibility to potentially incorporate future alternative fuel strategies, particularly diesel technology.

As a result, the company will discontinue its Australian I6 engine operations in Geelong in 2010. Redeployment opportunities will be maximised wherever possible and the company will work closely with its employees and unions to minimise the impact on the 600 people affected by the decision across engine operations. The company's remaining 1400 employees in Geelong and 3000 in Campbellfield will not be directly impacted by the decision.

Construction of the company's new Research & Development Centre, announced in 2006 as part of Ford's $1.8 billion Australian investment program, will continue and is due for completion later this year. Significant investment programs in new emissions laboratories and wind tunnel technology at Ford's test facilities at Lara will also continue, along with usual operations at the company's stamping plant and Ford Discovery Centre.

The decision to introduce the new engine and discontinue engine operations at Geelong follows industry-wide changes in consumer behaviour, including lower demand for large cars and the corresponding increase in popularity of smaller, imported vehicles. These changes have seen sales of locally produced vehicles as a percentage of the total industry in Australia fall from 36.1 per cent in 1998 to 19.4 per cent year-to-date in 2007 (Source: VFACTS).

"The Australian car market has fundamentally and permanently changed," said Ford Australia President Mr Tom Gorman.

"Our new engine strategy is a direct response to the lower manufacturing levels of locally produced large vehicles. Although we remain committed to our current local vehicle lines Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory, it is imperative that we improve our ability to respond to the increasing consumer desire for alternative fuels, improved performance, and better fuel economy while spreading the investment required across a broader base of vehicles. Importing the new engine from 2010 will allow us to achieve these goals."

The new engine will be sourced from high volume US engine facilities that are anticipated to produce approximately one million engines per year by 2011. In contrast, Ford Australia's engine operation currently produces 70,000 engines each year.

The next stage in Ford Australia's new manufacturing strategy is to improve the capacity utilisation at its Campbellfield manufacturing plant.

"We are currently investigating a number of alternatives that will allow us to return our Campbellfield manufacturing facility to 100 per cent capacity," said Mr Gorman.

"We look forward to working with our employees to ensure we can deliver on the next step in our process to continue building our business here in Australia."
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-18-2007, 02:14 PM
Ach
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Re: FoMoCoNews Editorial: Another step of Ford's Way forward

Great post Igor. You touched upon an issue that really concerns me, namely, the fact that the "Cyclone" will not be able to match the easy-access torque of the straight six. You mentioned the turbo versions of the engines. My main concern lies with the bread and butter, base models that will make up the majority of sales. As I've said elsewhere, I love the D35-I think it sounds great, it revs willingly, and it will be an ideal partner for a manual tranny. But it also feels very weak down low, which I think could be a real issue for Australian buyers used to the right-now torque of the old motor. Maybe Ford can ameliorate this problem by using the "truck tuned" Cyclones in the upcoming Falcons.

As an aside, would it have been that big of a deal to switch to an aluminum block in the I6 to address the emissions issue?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-18-2007, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: FoMoCoNews Editorial: Another step of Ford's Way forward

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ach View Post
Great post Igor. You touched upon an issue that really concerns me, namely, the fact that the "Cyclone" will not be able to match the easy-access torque of the straight six. You mentioned the turbo versions of the engines. My main concern lies with the bread and butter, base models that will make up the majority of sales. As I've said elsewhere, I love the D35-I think it sounds great, it revs willingly, and it will be an ideal partner for a manual tranny. But it also feels very weak down low, which I think could be a real issue for Australian buyers used to the right-now torque of the old motor. Maybe Ford can ameliorate this problem by using the "truck tuned" Cyclones in the upcoming Falcons.

As an aside, would it have been that big of a deal to switch to an aluminum block in the I6 to address the emissions issue?

You are right about the Torque .. The Truck tune that will go to the F150 and possibly the Mustang might be the Tune for the Falcon ..we do not have the specs on that engine yet, but will - soon (January). Also the engine in its current form is much more bare than the Bara .. adding twin independent cam timing, DI and other goodies will make the engine much more comparable to the Bara even in the Torque department, while preserving its rev-happy nature and good fuel ecnomy (and low weight and packaging advantages).

I believe Ford AU was denied the funds to redevelop the Bara block in aluminium since Ford wants to globalize its powertrains .. I believe it would have not been that big of a deal, but Ford wanted to move away from that engine family.

PS: I finally heard someone take off from the light in an Edge .. you can clearly hear Ford used Nissans and the VQ engine as a benchmark .. the Edge has the same hearty (almost) rumble to it .. great job Ford - I always liked the tone Nissan and Infinity have with their VQ engines.

Igor
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-18-2007, 02:42 PM
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Re: FoMoCoNews Editorial: Another step of Ford's Way forward

This is soo true igor. your insight into the issue is welcome. Thank you also for giving FoMoCoNews original content.
Toyota and Nissan use the same basic engine accross their entire vehicle ranges, like the nissan VQ engine, GM is also moving in that direction.
Ford indeed should consolidate, there is no need to duplicate effort, an engine can have variants, so that its the same basic architecture.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-25-2007, 04:07 PM
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Re: FoMoCoNews Editorial: Another step of Ford's Way forward

Will Volvo move to the V6 family from the i5 and i6?

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