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Performax to develop RHD Ford F-Series Super Duty truck

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Mary Lorenzo (left) and Oliver Spiess (right)

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2015 Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch (US-spec)

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24th December, 2013

Two former GM Holden engineers with wide international experience have been appointed to develop the Ford Super Duty pick-up truck for full-volume right-hand drive production by a leading independent American vehicle importer Performax International.

Mary Lorenzo and Oliver Spiess have begun work on the mechanical and interior conversion designs that will be needed to build up to 300 RHD Super Duty F-250 and F-350 trucks in series production from next year.

Performax International, which already manufactures around 320 American cars and utes in RHD a year at its factory in Gympie, north of Queensland's Sunshine Coast, recently won Federal Government approval for full-volume (unlimited) production of the Ford Super Duty.

The Ford will join the Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Tundra and Dodge RAM utilities, which are already in limited-volume production at Performax.

Ms Lorenzo and Mr Spiess have worked with vehicle makers and component suppliers in Germany, the United States and Spain, as well as Australia.

In Australia during two stints at GM Holden, Ms Lorenzo contributed to the interior engineering of the Holden Commodore and Pontiac G8. She worked as a design engineer on the Holden Cruze and earlier was employed by seat supplier Air International (now Futuris), with project engineering responsibility for Holden, Ford and Mitsubishi seating.

Mr Spiess joined Performax from Ford Australia, where he worked on safety systems for the Ford Ranger ute. Previously, at Holden, he undertook similar work on the Colorado and other projects.

Throughout a career of more than 20 years he has worked extensively on safety, occupant restraint systems and product development. He was responsible for vehicle safety systems on GM's global rear-drive platform, used by the Commodore, Chevrolet Camaro and other derivatives.

Mr Spiess's experience in ensuring vehicles achieved safety compliance in diverse markets around the world will be valuable in bringing the F-250 and F-350 to market in Australia.

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"Mary and I will take our experience from large-scale manufacturing systems and apply them to the Performax International operation," he said.

"Performax is a small company that has done a brilliant job over the past 20 years and which now wants to move forward with significant production volume of the Ford Super Duty."

"We will focus on three areas - compliance, designing the vehicle for right-hand drive and production systems to ensure consistent quality and conformity, including spare parts."

Ms Lorenzo said she had started work on developing new parts for the F-250 and F-350, after completing an initial assessment of the project.

"Oliver and I are delighted to be on board for this exciting project. A relatively small company is a new environment for us, but we're confident we can bring the benefit of our experience to help produce an outstanding new vehicle for the Australian market." she said.

Performax International General Manager Glenn Soper said the appointment of two such experienced mechanical engineers from the mainstream vehicle manufacturing sector showed his company's determination to build the best quality products to factory standards.

"The Ford Super Duty project is aimed to eventually double production volume at Performax International to around 600 vehicles a year and to achieve this we need to install the latest factory systems," he said.

"Performax is placed to not only consolidate itself as the industry leader in Australia but also to seek new opportunities internationally."

"The F-250 and F-350 project has been a long time coming, but we know there is enormous interest in these products from business and private users in Australia."

"When we're in full production later next year, we will be able to offer customers an unrivalled line-up of the latest American pick-ups (utes) ready for Australian roads - the Ford Super Duty, Chev Silverado, Toyota Tundra and Dodge RAM."

Performax International has almost 25 years' experience importing and re-engineering American vehicles to full Australian Design Rule compliance, with work completed to ISO 9001 Quality Assurance standards.

Hi-tech practices such as computer-aided design, 3D-printed parts prototyping and injection moulding ensure right-hand drive vehicles are manufactured factory-original engineering, fit and finish quality.

Performax vehicles are available around Australia at several dealership locations.


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