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Ford's High Tech Revamp While Holden Workers Back Change

It’s tough times in the Australian automotive manufacturing field; Ford is looking to go out with a bang locally and Holden workers confirm a pay freeze to try and help extend the Adelaide based operations lifespan.2014 Ford Mustang concept

Ford released details (13 August 2013) about its revamped range of vehicles as it looks to provide Australian buyers some sort of joy before wrapping local building operations in 2016. Chief amongst this is confirmation the iconic Mustang name will spearhead the Ford range however the midsized Mondeo is slated to become the main seller, due to the continuing dropoff in large car sales. The new Fiesta range is also due before years end as is a new form of driver safety. Ford calls it “MyKey” and is intended to give parents more control over the driving habits of their children plus, should the worst happen (a crash) contact emergency services automatically. “MyKey is an industry-first technology that allows parents to program a key that limits top speed, reduces maximum radio volume, disables the radio until the seatbelts are fastened and prevents deactivation of driver assistance and safety technologies.”

Modeo hatchStaying with the tech theme, the 2014 arrival of Mondeo sees inflatableTransit Cargo seatbelts for rear passengers; on impact the belts inflate and cover five times more surface area on a body than conventional seatbelts, reducing physical trauma. Ford also continues with the Mondeo station wagon,  a criminally underrated segment in Australia with the seemingly almost unstoppable surge towards SUVs, with a redesign offering better interior packaging plus a reintroduction of the hatchback, with a slim and aerodynamic look. Ford’s commercial Mondeo wagonbuyers will also be looked after with an update to the venerable 2014 Ford FiestaTransit range also on stream. With seven million sold since 1965 it remains one of Ford’s most successful commercially oriented vehicles and for 2014 the range cops a substantial reskinning with two distinct looks, the Cargo and Custom, being set to roll into businesses next year. The Cargo will come with a variety of body shapes and will also a 12 seater bus variant.

In regards to Ford Australia’s oldest nameplate, the Falcon, that will be retired when Ford Oz ceases local building and full details of what the big car will feature and look like are yet to be confirmed.

For the red lion brand, it’s confirmed now that workers at the Elizabeth, South Australia, plant have backed a wage freeze and will help contribute a saving of $15 million, adding to the struggling makers push to stay local past 2020. Holden has been in talks with both the current Federal government and the Opposition in order to source more funding, which in some circles has been decried as a blatant exercise in corporate hostage taking. What’s overlooked is the knock on effect, already felt in third and fourth party supply circles after Ford’s announcement, with other manufacturing streams largely reliant on the auto industry. Australian Manufacturing Workers Union state secretary John Camillo said Holden’s Adelaide workforce had voted to help save not only Holden but the wider car component sector.”It was a tough choice, but they made the right decision,” an emotional Mr Camillo told reporters. He said the onus was now on the federal government and the opposition to declare their support for the company to ensure Holden pushes ahead with a $1 billion investment to build two new cars in Australia from 2016. Holden will now delay its decision on local manufacturing until the September 7 Federal election is concluded and will restart talks with whomever becomes the government.