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SBD Global/May 24, 2013/Franchises

Ford To Retire Falcon, V8 Supercars Future Uncertain After Melbourne Plant Closes In '16

Falcon's presence on the V8 Supercars grid "appear to be numbered following the carmaker's decision to end local manufacturing" in '16, according to Peter Kogoy of THE AUSTRALIAN. The company "stunned the sport" Thursday when it confirmed it would close down its Broadmeadows assembly plant in Melbourne and become an imports-only operation. There are currently just six Falcons in the 28-car championship, "with their numbers having been in steady decline in recent seasons." Of the six, four race under the Ford Performance Racing factory banner, "while the other two are campaigned by the iconic Dick Johnson" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/24). SPEED's William Dale wrote "Ford have yet to make any decisions on their motorsport involvement in Australia" after they close the Melbourne plant. Ford Australia CEO Bob Graziano said, "My sense is that the Falcon name is inextricably linked to Australia and to being produced here. We will retire that name when we retire the vehicle." Falcon must exit V8 Supercars, "as a model must be commercially available in Australia to be approved for competition." Graziano "affirmed that no decisions have been made in regard to their motorsport involvement" from '16 onwards. Graziano: "We haven't taken any decision. We'll work with our motorsport teams and work our way through the next three years" (SPEED, 5/23).  
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