The Courier-Mail Tuesday 2 November 2004


Superfast Ford fuels speed row

Mark Hinchliffe

A FORD Falcon potentially faster than many expensive European supercars has prompted a call for vehicles to be speed-limited.


The FPV Typhoon, priced at $58,950, has so much thrust Ford has refused to release its acceleration figures because of concerns about negative reaction from the safety lobby.


Ford Performance Vehicles product planning manager Mark Behr acknowledged the decision not to release the figures was prompted by recent complaints about car advertisements highlighting the maximum speeds of powerful cars.


Independent tests conducted by The Courier-Mail show the car can reach 100km/h in second gear but its top speed was not found.


Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby said the release this week of the turbocharged Typhoon should be the catalyst for speed-governing of vehicles.

"In generations to come people will look back on this era like the Wild West when people walked around with a gun on their hips," he said.

"These people (car manufacturers) are the cowboys of this century."


The Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) Typhoon is a souped-up version of the turbocharged Falcon XR6T.


Its four-litre, six-cylinder turbocharged engine gives it torque, or thrust, only slightly less than a $1.1 million, 5.7-litre, 10-cylinder Porsche Carrera GT.


It has more torque than a Lamborghini Gallardo and a Ferrari F430.


Mr Behr said Ford's advertising campaign, under the Performance Inc name, would work responsibly within Advertising Standards Bureau's new codes of practice.


"Most vehicles are featured in static shots in our ads," he said. "And we are the only company that offers free driver training with the sale of our performance cars."


The Pedestrian Council of Australia has recently had ads for the Mitsubishi Magna and the BMW Mini withdrawn after successfully complaining to the ASB.

Mr Scruby said these decisions put motor-vehicle manufacturers and advertisers on notice that the Pedestrian Council would complain about any advertisement which breached the ABS code.

"Why are they releasing these vehicles on our roads when the motorway speed limit is 110km/h?"

He called for speed-governing of vehicles and for speedos to be limited to showing 130km/h.


RACQ external relations general manager Gary Fites said FPV's advertising plan was "most encouraging".


"Very often the irresponsible advertisers are those who have more mundane vehicles, not the performance car manufacturers," he said.

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