An intelligent automaker knows to gather and absorb as much candid customer feedback as possible before revamping a product. Recognizing the importance of knocking the swansong Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo and Ford Falcon XR8 “Sprint” models out of the ballpark, Ford Australia turned to social media – and automotive message boards in particular – to help the team hone both cars for maximum enjoyment.
Australia’s CarAdvice spoke to Falcon Sprint Program Manager Justin Capicchiano at the recent launch, who told the website that car forums were a major source of important feedback. “The guys that post on there, sometimes they’re quite critical of us,” he said. “That’s fine, because they’ve invested the money into the product, so they’ve got a voice. It would be remiss of us to not be responsive to that.
“We drive the cars as well, so we know where the limitations of the cars are. We also try and stay active in social media – going in the forums and reading through everything.”
According to Mr. Capicchiano, the Ford Falcon Sprint team concluded that power wasn’t so much the issue – rather, it was how that power was harnessed. That led the team to rework the suspension and offer high-performance Pirelli P Zero tires. “We knew that tire technology and suspension technology had moved on since the [seventh-generation Ford Falcon] came out in 2007 and now we’re in 2015/2016, there’s a lot that can be done in that period of time on tire technology and suspension technology.”
The Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo Sprint and XR8 Sprint are the culmination of a team of 15 engineers working full-time for nearly two years.