Ford Australia’s design and engineering team is well-rounded enough to tackle any product, according to Ford Asia Pacific VP of Product Design Trevor Worthington.
“To some extent, there’s nothing we can’t do,” Mr. Worthington told the press recently. “We have a capability beyond [body-on-frame vehicles like the Ranger and Everest]. There’s no pigeonholing whatsoever. We have capability in cars – small cars like the Escort, medium cars, large cars like the Taurus, the Ranger and Everest body on frame [vehicles], so to some extent, there’s nothing we can’t do.”
Ford Australia’s new Asia Pacific Product Development Center, located at the automaker’s Broadmeadows HQ, is one of three such facilities worldwide. It was built recently at a cost of $50 million Australian, and Ford plans to increase R&D funding by 50 percent in the country to $450 million next year, in order to support more vehicle development programs.
Asked about whether Ford Australia’s R&D team would have a hand in helping with alternative propulsion or self-driving technology, Worthington said he “wouldn’t be so brave as to say we’re ready to do that, but there’s a path of driver assist features on the way and full-level [autonomy] is in our future. We’re putting facilities in [at Lara] that’ll make it much easier for us to verify full level 2 semi-autonomous capability.”
Rumors persist that the next-generation Ford Ranger mid-size pickup is being designed and engineered by Ford Australia, alongside a new Everest/Bronco built on the same platform, but but Mr. Worthington could neither confirm nor deny the speculation.