Ford F-Series coming to Oz
The Performax Ford F-Series.
The foundation has been set for the iconic Ford F-Series pickup to become a serious bulk seller in Australia. But you will still need to pay for the privilege.
Queensland-based Performax International has secured Australian Design Rule (ADR) compliance for the conversion and distribution of the iconic American pick-ups, which essentially means they can be sold in unlimited numbers to all states and territories. Plans are afoot for the company to right-hand drive-convert and distribute up to 1000 utes per annum by 2016.
“We’ve been able to meet the criteria as a full-volume, original equipment manufacturer. The upshot is that we can do an unlimited volume in these vehicles,” Performax general manager Glenn Soper told Drive.
Historically, imported left-hand drive pick-ups have had to be imported into Australia through the restrictive Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS), before being individually re-engineered and converted to right-hand drive. The ADR compliance does away with much of that red tape, meaning lower overheads and, with enough volume, potentially lower prices for consumers.
The very first 2014 Performax F250 pick-ups will be available in Australia from August.
All models come fitted with a 6.7-litre V8 turbo diesel engine producing 294kW and 1084Nm of torque. Drive is sent via a six-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels – all culminating in a claimed towing capacity of five tonnes.
Pricing will start “at under $100,000” for the entry F250 XLT crew cab.
“Higher-spec Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum crew cabs [will be priced] from around $125,000 plus on-roads (prices subject to prevailing exchange rates),” the company said.
“Buyers of a Performax-built F-series will have the assurance their vehicle is not just a one-off conversion job, but fully-warranted with production-line quality, consistency and parts availability.
“Previously, providers required individual engineering reports for each individual F-truck manufactured. By qualifying for true full-volume compliance under the new regime, we have proven we are Conformity of Production ready.
“This means that the department has such confidence in the sophistication and rigor of our controls and processes that they have deemed we no longer need to seek engineers' approval on every vehicle we produce.”
To coincide with the ADR development, Performax will hire an additional 30 staff before year’s end to manage the extra workload. Soper anticipated further growth in the company’s workforce, which currently stands at 70, if its future sales projections materialise.
“The business plan for this year is 270 units, simply because we’re going to have to rev up everything to support the volume,” he said.
“We’re looking at 500 units the following year and, depending on the success of that, 1000 units in the third year.”
The Performax F-Series won’t be safety tested in Australia due to a loophole that exists for some light trucks. But all products will feature as standard six airbags (dual front, front-side, and side curtain ‘bags), electronic stability control, hill start assist and descent control, and roll stability and trailer sway control.
Other standard inclusions include 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and cloth trim.
All Performax F-Series pick-ups will be covered by a four-year/120,000km warranty which Soper described as being on par with a full factory warranty.
“Our warranty is a quintessential statutory warranty that any manufacturer offers: bumper to bumper-type coverage,” he said. “We underwrite the whole vehicle.”
On top of the F-Series, Performax will continue to sell limited numbers of its right-hand converted Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Tundra and Dodge Ram pick-ups.