Ford Falcon successor spotted?

US-built Taurus caught in Australia for testing.

Just days after Ford announced it would end production of its Australian-built Falcon in 2016, a possible American successor to the car has been spotted at Sydney Airport.

Eagle-eyed transport staff caught a US-built Ford Taurus in transit before it was shipped to Ford engineers in Melbourne. The Taurus has long been mooted as the replacement for the Australian-built Falcon, something that gained momentum in recent years since the adoption of the "One Ford" policy, whereby a single car is produced for all markets around the world.

If Ford were to continue with a large sedan the Taurus is the only option from the brand. 

Ford Australia spokesman Neil McDonald says the vehicle had been imported by Ford Australia.

We often have engineering vehicles for North America and Europe and other parts of the world that we work on for other markets,” he says.

It’s not an indication that the vehicle is going to be on sale here.”

McDonald says the Taurus’ presence was not necessarily linked to last week’s announcement that Ford’s Falcon and Territory were to be discontinued.

He said Australian engineers had been working with the US-sourced Ford Explorer SUV. The Explorer has been rumoured as a potential successor to the Territory.

So it appears the Taurus is either being tested and partially developed in Australia for the world - using the 1100-strong design and engineering resources that will continue at Ford in Melbourne - or evaluated for sale in Australia. Or both.

Ford’s top tier Taurus has a turbocharged 3.5-litre engine that pushes 270kW and 475Nm through all four wheels. It costs $39,300 in the US, which is line-ball with the Chrysler 300C Luxury sold in Australia for $56,000.

Cheaper Taurus models are fitted with front-wheel-drive and a choice of 211kW V6 or 177kW EcoBoost four-cylinder engines.

The Taurus was sold in Australia alongside the Falcon throughout the 1990s but was a sales flop and was discontinued after just two years.

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