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Auto blogThu, 24 Jul 2014 16:55:00 EST
While its days may be numbered, Ford isn't just going to let its Falcon sedan limp out for the Australian market. No, the Blue Oval is releasing a refreshed Falcon for its final years, and it's lead by this, the new XR8. That's right, this dead-car-driving is going to go out on a high note.
Ford's global design DNA dominates the looks of the new Falcon, with a grille reminiscent of the US market Fusion and the European-market Mondeo. The headlights aren't a straight port, and boast their own unique LED running light pattern (at least on the XR8), but the overall look is strikingly similar. Out back, LED taillights highlight the rear of the Faclon. Despite the substantial new fascia, this is still a mid-cycle refresh. That means most of the rest of the Falcon's body panels are carryovers from the current model.
The XR8 model, shown above, arrives with a supercharged V8, allegedly displacing 5.0 liters. Unfortunately, details on the Falcon's mechanicals are in remarkably short supply. Ford has committed to a range of turbocharged four, as well as turbocharged and naturally aspirated six-cylinders, in addition to the V8, although specifics on those mills aren't available.
Following positive third quarter financial results recently from General Motors, rival Ford took a tumble in Q3. The automaker posted pre-tax profits of $1.18 billion, compared to about $2.59 billion in Q3 2013, a drop of around 54 percent. Net income also suffered with $835 million made in the quarter, versus $1.272 billion last year, a decline of about 34 percent. The Blue Oval blamed the gloomy figures on three reasons in its release: "lower volume, higher warranty costs and adverse balance sheet exchange effects."
There were problems of one kind or another in practically every region. North America experienced higher warranty costs than expected, partially due to recalls. The sales volume for the quarter was 665,000 units, versus 725,000 in Q3 2013, and pre-tax results amounted to $1.41 billion versus $2.296 billion last year.
South America and Europe both posted worse pre-tax results than last year. On the bright side, European volume was up slightly to 321,000 vehicles, from 303,000 in Q3 2013. The Middle East and Africa also lost $15 million, but that was an improvement compared to the $25 million loss previously experienced in this region.
Ford had a bit of a recall spree around this time last year, with a pair of issues on the then-new 2013 Escape, followed by a recall of 423,000 2001 to 2004 Escapes because they might accelerate of their own accord. Accordingly, Uncle Sam pasted Ford with a $17.35 million fine because it took too long to inform customers, according to a report from Automotive News.
Ford agreed to settle with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accepting the fine but not admitting fault. The recall, which afflicted Escapes with the 3.0-liter V-6 along with 217,000 Mazda Tributes from 2001 to 2006 and 2008, was due to faulty gas pedals that could stay down after a driver removed their foot.
Ford issued a statement regarding the fine, saying, "We take the safety of our customers seriously and continuously evaluate our processes for improvements. While we are confident in our current processes for quickly identifying and addressing potential vehicle issues, Ford agreed to this settlement to avoid a lengthy dispute with the government."