In a twist of irony, Ford hosted a press conference yesterday in Sydney, giving a look at the company's 2014 lineup for the Australian market and a taste of things to come. One of the highlights of the event was a look at the new Ford Everest SUV concept, a seven-seater sport/utility based on the T6 Ranger sold overseas. The role of Ford's Australian design and development team was prominently touted with the new concept, with Ford CEO Alan Mulally further emphasizing the company's commitment to Australia by calling it one of the company's "product development centers of excellence."
However, for Ford's blue-collar manufacturing workforce in Australia, things are not so rosy, as Ford previously announced cessation of Australian manufacturing operations by 2016. The showing of the Everest "concept" is a subtle reminder that the current Australia-only Ford Territory SUV will likely cease production along with the closing of Ford's Australian manufacturing facilities. The Ford Everest has been sold in Thailand and other Asian markets since 2003, also sold as the Ford Endeavor in India, and has been built in Rayong, Thailand, where the current T6 Ranger is built for Asian-Pacific markets. Thailand will be the likely production location when the new Everest goes into production.
New versions of the front-drive Transit Custom and rear-drive Transit Cargo vans were also shown at the event, along with the EcoSport subcompact SUV and current Australian-market Ford Territory.