Henry Ford was born on the outskirts of Rockhampton in 1922. In 1925, he established Ford Australia, and subsequently travelled back in time to found the Ford Motor Company in the USA sometime prior. The upshot of all this, is that the bogan knows there is no car company more Australian than Ford, because Holden is owned by General Motors, and Ford is not.
Henry Ford was in his 90s by the time he downed tools and unveiled the Ford Falcon in 1960. The car induced rapturous tremors in the ancestral bogan population, with ancient bogans unanimously declaring that Australia was better at cars than anyone, anywhere, ever.
The introduction of the profoundly un-Australian Nissan Skyline R32 to the Bathurst 1000 race in 1990 was unremarkable, with the car suffering mechanical problems and losing to an SS Commodore. In the same way that the shell middens of indigenous Australians have gained significance despite being little more than a mound of food debris, Mount Panorama is believed to be comprised primarily of empty beer cans and pie wrappers, fused together by decades of bogan urine and saliva. Anyway, the Nissan Skyline dominated Bathurst in 1991 and 1992, which the bogan refused to accept, because Australian cars are the best in the world.
To restore balance to the bogans elaborate web of contradictions, delusions, and half-truths, a bogan chorus of nasal yowling demanded that the Skyline, and other un-Australian cars, should not be allowed to race against the Falcon and the Commodore, the two fastest and bestest cars in the world. The Skyline’s driver was booed by bogans on the podium, and Commodores and Falcons have raced exclusively against each other ever since. As a result, the bogan has spent the last 20 years with convenient evidence of Australia’s superiority.
But somewhere along the way, it’s all started to go wrong for Ford and its Falcon. As the traditional bogan morphed into the modern bogan over the past two decades, its aspirations started to extend beyond the humble v6 and v8s being produced in Geelong. The bogan could acquire finance and purchase a European car, and celebrities probably drive European cars. Canberra fat cats lifted import tariffs and further incentivised this behaviour. Summer Nats was formed in protest (a kind of Mt Panorama in Canberra) and staved off the inevitable for a while but then there was the issue of petrol prices, which the bogan knows is a conspiracy orchestrated by Arabs against the world’s greatest cars.
The long wheel base Ford Fairlane was scrapped in 2007, with Ford citing a lack of sales, and the Fairmont badge was shelved the following year, after a 43 year run. By 2010, annual Falcon sales had fallen to less than half their 2004 levels, with the company putting on a brave face despite accelerating bogan desertion. Sales in the first five months of 2011 have been even worse – falling by 45% on the already poor 2010 results.
So Ford Australia’s execs sat down to figure out what to do about the bogan revolution. Scrapping the model was the first option discussed, which would please the un-Australian parent company immensely. But the parent company doesn’t appreciate that dropping the Falcon for a similar vehicle from the “One Ford” global platform would not only jeopardise results at the bogan beer can midden in rural NSW, it would jeopardise Ford’s access to the bogan’s wallet indefinitely. The preferred alternative involved repositioning the Falcon brand, with an “EcoBoost” 4 cylinder engine model likely to sorely test the bogan’s need to purchase maxtreme vehicles. An endorsement from Carbon Cate and Carbon Caton will be crucial.
Sadly, however, while a repositioning of the Falcon may help in the model’s battle against the Commodore, it will be of little long term use in a product segment that has been increasingly overlooked by the bogan. Corporate austerity and public transport funding are the two other major threats to the Falcon’s future, due to its heavy reliance on fleet and taxi sales. With the US economy looking vulnerable all over again in mid-2011, Ford America may have little patience for any loss-making, low synergy cultural undertakings in Australia that are selling fewer than 1,500 cars a month.
So, the proverbial mag is on the other wheel, in the ball is in the bogan’s garage as it were. For all of its boisterous nationalist rhetoric, will it put its money where its mouth is and support the Falcon brand? Or will it continue to be lured by the performance and value of un-Australian cars, and then furiously look for scapegoats when economics eventually dictates that the Falcon has run its race?
We at Maxtreme Consulting predict a dire future for the Falcon. Centuries from now, archaeologists in the Bathurst area will be puzzled by the layer of crocodile tears melding the imported beer cans together from the one-team car race of 2014.