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Ford Australia has just outlined its electrification roadmap, which includes the rollout of five new electrified models before the end of 2024.
Anyone hoping for details on exactly what those models are will be sorely disappointed. Local Ford executives were tight-lipped about their plans during the press conference, aside from announcing the E-Transit van as the Blue Oval’s first full EV, and confirming a quarter two, 2022 launch for the long-delayed Escape PHEV.
This prompted us to trawl Ford’s global portfolio to highlight the many cool models – electrified or otherwise – that are not available to the Australian market, but we think should be.
Most people thought the Mustang Mach-E was all but locked and loaded for the Australian market. Sadly, Ford Australia president and CEO Andrew Birkic ruled out the sleek all-electric SUV, blaming its global popularity. It’s all but sold out in every market it’s available.
The fact that it’s produced in factory right-hand-drive configuration, meaning it could be sold in Australia if there was ample stock, makes it all the more disappointing. It would be an excellent rival for the Tesla Model Y, Polestar 2, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and higher-end fare like the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-tron.
If supply improves then the local Ford team might push again, but it’s off the cards for now.
The Mustang Mach-E is part of Ford’s plan to leverage its iconic nameplates to build an electrified portfolio. The Transit, F-Series and Bronco will all be offered with various forms of electrification.
The Mustang Mach-E is offered in two- and all-wheel drive and in spicy GT guise, the latter of which can race from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds. I guess we will just have to imagine it.
Like the Mustang Mach-E, the all-electric F-150 Lightning pick-up truck is in high demand ahead of first deliveries in the US early next year.
The fact that it is not being built in right-hand drive has all but ruled it out for Australia, but all hope is not lost.
If you look at the popularity of the RAM 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado in Australia, it’s clear that there’s a market for full-sized US-market trucks here. Both of these models are built in North America and shipped to Melbourne where they are converted to right-hand drive at Walkinshaw Automotive Group’s Clayton facility.
Yes, it would be risky given the F-150 Lightning is electric and the Ram and Chevy are most definitely not. But it could open Ford up to a new market and give it some much-needed credibility as the first mass-produced electric ute in Australia – unless investment partner Rivian beats it to the punch with its R1T.
The F-150 Lightning has a driving range of between 370km and 483km depending on the variant, with the Extended Range outputting a massive 420kW/1051Nm.
Imagine how popular a compact pick-up would be in Australia. We love our mid-size utes like the Ranger and Toyota HiLux, but some buyers don’t need that much space or carrying capacity. The Maverick fits that niche perfectly. But, like a lot of the models on this list, Ford is not developing it in right-hand drive.
Built on Ford’s C2 platform shared with the Focus and Escape, the Maverick will battle the Hyundai Santa Cruz in America’s fledgling car-based pick-up segment. Butch Ford truck styling adds to the Maverick’s appeal.
While some see it as a spiritual successor to the iconic Subaru Brumby from the 1980s and 90s, the Maverick is more practical, with four doors, five seats and towing capacity ranging from 1000-1800kg.
The Bronco shares the T6 platform with the Ranger and Everest and much of the mechanicals were developed in Australia. Which is why it’s all the more galling that it’s not being built in right-hand drive. Boo Ford!
Off-roaders are more popular than ever in Australia, partly due to international travel restrictions caused by the pandemic. Interest in the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series is sky high, and Ford’s Everest is experiencing some of its best ever sales, despite being late in its model life.
The Everest could be partly to blame for the lack of a right-hand-drive Bronco. Ford thinks the Bronco could cannibalise Everest sales in Australia and it has spent too much time and money building the Everest brand to risk that.
It’s a shame because, despite the shared underpinnings, they appeal to very different buyers. Everest appeals to families and grey nomads among others, while the Bronco, with its wild design, quirky features and unlimited accessories, will appeal to younger singles and couples – just like the Jeep Wrangler.
The Bronco Sport might look rugged but it’s built on the C2 Focus/Escape monocoque platform. It can still go off road, but won’t tackle trails like the regular Bronco. It’s the more practical option. But, once again, a no-go for Australia.
Many buyers prefer car-based soft-roaders like the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Sorento. After the death of the Australian-built Territory in 2016, Ford tried again with the Edge-based Endura but it flopped and was pulled from the market.
The Explorer, however, could be a winner for Ford Down Under. It’s the right size, has seven seats, an edgy look and it’s offered with petrol and hybrid powertrains to appeal to Kluger buyers.
It even comes in spicy ST guise, packing a powerful 298kW/563Nm V6 and sporty styling.
What could be a slam dunk for Ford Australia is once again unavailable in right-hand drive.
The Puma ST is built in right-hand drive, but Ford Australia said no because it’s only available with a six-speed manual gearbox. Ford brass don’t think buyers want a warmed-up light SUV unless it’s got an automatic transmission. Shame.
The Puma ST shares most of its underpinnings with the excellent Fiesta ST hatchback, including the 147kW 1.5-litre turbocharged engine. It would be a fairly unique offering and further enhance Ford’s performance-car credentials.
The internet got very excited when the Chinese market Evos made its debut in June. The coupe-style liftback SUV carries a striking exterior design similar in silhouette to the Mustang Mach-E, and it could be a very appealing replacement for the recently discontinued Mondeo mid-sizer.
Ford is rumoured to be producing a global version for other markets, but it is unclear if it will be built in right-hand drive or offered here.
The sleek S-Max has the ingredients for success in Australia – it’s a seven-seater, shares its underpinnings with the impressive Mondeo and is offered with a hybrid powertrain.