Ford Falcon BA
Ford’s BA series Falcon made its debut on Australian roads in 2002 after the motoring company made a $500 million investment in developing the series.
The BA replaced the AU series and in most respects it has been a significant upgrade, as Ford attempted to take more of the family sedan market from Holden.
Initially it hit the market hard and remained a competitive option for about three years, until it was superseded by the BF series in 2005.
It was an accolade to the BA’s design that the BF series saw few changes from the Falcon released in 2002.
Such was the success of the BA model that a Mark II of the original was released in 2004.
BA was a significant change from the AU with styling, suspension, interior and safety related changes.
Safety improved considerably in the 2002 model with handling and features both upgraded with protection of the occupants in mind. Some of the features added to the model were dual stage front airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes, seatbelt pretensioners and steering wheel mounted stereo controls.
And the model had two new motors, the first was one straight from its factory in Canada the new 5.4 litre V8 engine which, in standard configuration, provided 220 kW of power.
There was also a new 4.0 litre engine.
One of the major criticisms of the BA model was fuel efficiency, but at the launch of the BF series Ford Australia product and development vice president, Trevor Worthington, said the BA series laid the groundwork to make the Falcon more fuel efficient.
Mr Worthington said the building blocks for achieving the fuel economy increases were laid with the launch of the BA Falcon in 2002.
"That was a milestone event which saw the introduction of a new, DOHC 24-valve engine with dual phasers that offered significant improvements in performance and refinement. Customer feedback about the new engine was fantastic and the new powertrain was a key factor in the BA Falcon recording strong sales and winning numerous industry accolades.’’
"Importantly for the latest program, it provided a fantastic base offering room for further improvements."
According to testing by Ford Australia the BA Mark II recorded 11.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.
There were also major changes to the look of the vehicle after the company received heavy criticism for the AU’s major changes in styling.
With all these upgrade and level of investment is it any wonder that the BA Falcon won Wheels Car of the Year in 2002 and the BA Futura won “Best Family Car” at Australia’s Best Car (ABC) awards in the same year. ABC is an award run by motoring associations and a recognised industry leader.
The BA proved how ‘’light-years’’ ahead of the competition when it was when it won “Best Family Car” in 2003 despite being unchanged, and the Mark II XT won ABC’s “Best Family Car” in 2004.
It was the BA, with all the critical acclaim, that led to a significant increase in sales for Ford Australia.