The Ford Falcon was an automobile produced by Ford Motor Company from 1960 to 1970. It was a huge sales success for Ford initially, handily outselling rival compacts from Chrysler and General Motors introduced at the same time. During its lifespan, the Falcon was offered in a wide range of body styles: two-door and four-door sedans, two-door and four-door station wagons, two-door hardtops, convertibles, a sedan delivery and the Ranchero pickup. For several years, the Falcon name was also used on passenger versions of the Ford Econoline van. Variations of the Ford Falcon were manufactured in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile and Mexico
Edsel Ford first used the term “Falcon” for a more luxurious Ford he designed in 1935. He decided the new car did not fit with Ford’s other offerings, so this design eventually became the Mercury.
Historically, the “Big Three” auto manufacturers (GM, Ford and Chrysler), focused purely on the larger and more profitable vehicles in the US and Canadian markets. Towards the end of the 1950s, all three manufacturers realized that this strategy would no longer work. Large automobiles were becoming increasingly expensive thanks to wage inflation, making smaller European cars such as Volkswagens increasingly attractive. Furthermore, many American families were now in the market for a second car, and market research showed that women especially thought that the full-size car had grown too large and cumbersome. At the same time, that research showed that many buyers would prefer to buy US or Canadian if the domestic manufacturers offered a smaller, cheaper car. Thus, all three introduced compact cars: the Valiant from Chrysler (becoming the Plymouth Valiant in 1961), the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair, and the Ford Falcon. Competition also came from smaller Studebaker, with the Lark, and AMC with its Rambler.
The project to produce a compact sedan at Ford, which later became Falcon, was started and sponsored by Robert S. McNamara who was then the General Manager of Ford Division. He commissioned a team to create what by American standards of the time a small car, but elsewhere in the world would be considered a mid-size car. McNamara, who was promoted to Group Vice President of Cars and Trucks by the time Falcon was launched, was intimately involved in every stage of the development, insisting on keeping the costs and weight of the car as low as possible. With room for six passengers in reasonable comfort, to keep the price down, engineer Harley Copp designed a unibody, keeping suspension standard and sourced from Ford’s existing parts bin. This allowed for improvements in build quality while keeping reliability and affordability high. The Australian iteration of the Falcon was the most successful and enduring.
Info Source: Wikipedia
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