Ford Telstar

Ford Telstar

Ford Telstar
Manufacturer Ford
Production 1983–1999
Assembly Hiroshima, Japan [1]
Taiwan (Ford Lio Ho, CKD) [2]
Homebush, Australia [1]
New Zealand [1]
Pretoria, South Africa [3]
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door hatchback
5-door station wagon
Layout FF layout
Platform Mazda GC platform (Telstar AR/AS 1983–1987)
Mazda GD (Telstar AT/AV 1987–1991)
Mazda GE (Telstar AX/AY 1991–1997)
Mazda CG (Telstar II 1994–1996)
Mazda GF (1997–1999)
Related Mazda Capella
Mazda Cronos
Predecessor Ford Cortina
Ford Sierra
(South Africa)
Successor Ford Mondeo
Ford Corsair (Australia)

The Ford Telstar is an automobile that was sold by the Ford in Asia, Australasia and Africa, comparable in size to the European Ford Sierra and the North American Ford Tempo. It was progressively replaced by the Ford Mondeo. It was named for the Telstar satellite.

Like the smaller Ford Laser, the Telstar was based on a model produced by Mazda in Japan. It shared its platform with the Mazda Capella/626, the differences being confined to some styling, engine sizes, and specification. The first model (also known as the AR) was launched in 1983, replacing the Ford Cortina. Unlike the Cortina, or its Sierra successor, the Telstar was usually only available as a sedan or five-door hatchback (known as the TX5). However, after 1988, a Telstar version of the 626 wagon was sold in Japan and New Zealand.

In Taiwan, the Telstar was locally assembled by Ford Lio Ho, the local Ford joint venture, in left hand drive, and remained in production in Malaysia until the early 2000s. It was also sold in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Cyprus and the Philippines.


  • First generation (AR, AS; 1982–1987) 1
  • Second generation (AT, AV; 1987–1992) 2
  • Third generation (AX, AY; 1991–1996) 3
  • Fourth generation (1994–1997) 4
  • Fifth generation (1997–1999) 5
  • References 6

First generation (AR, AS; 1982–1987)

First generation (AR, AS)
Ford Telstar TX5 (AR) GL liftback
Production 1982–1987 (Japan)
May 1983–1987 (Australia)
Body and chassis
Body style 5-door hatchback
4-door sedan
Engine 1.6 L Mazda F6 I4
2.0 L Mazda FE I4
Transmission 4/5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
1983–1985 Ford Telstar TX5 (AR) Ghia hatchback
1985–1987 Ford Telstar (AS) GL sedan
1985–1987 Ford Telstar TX5 (AS) Turbo hatchback

Ford introduced the Telstar (AR) to the Japanese market in 1982 on the new front-wheel drive Mazda GC platform, in sedan and hatchback forms.

In Australia, the Telstar filled the gap in Ford Australia's product line-up, left by the Cortina in 1981. The Australian produced AR Telstar began production in May 1983. There was only one engine on offer—a 70 kilowatts (94 hp) 2.0 litre carburetor. The car boasted many distinctive features, such as push-button adjustable suspension (which it shared with its 626 sister car), and a digital instrument cluster (which it did not), and was Wheels magazine’s Car of the Year for 1983. The hatchback TX-5 was only available with the five-speed gearbox.[4]

In New Zealand, the Telstar, like the Laser, was assembled locally from 1983 (replacing the highly successful Cortina range) at Ford's original Seaview plant near Lower Hutt and later at the Ford/Mazda joint venture plant in Wiri, Auckland, called Vehicle Assemblers of New Zealand (VANZ). The mechanically identical European specification Mazda 626 and Mazda 323 were initially assembled separately by Motor Holdings in Otahuhu but later joined the Telstar and Laser at VANZ.[5] The first generation Telstar was available in New Zealand in both sedan and TX5 hatchback forms, using Mazda 1.6 and 2.0 litre four cylinder engines.[6] However, the absence of a station wagon version, in a market where there was strong demand for such vehicles, prompted Ford New Zealand to introduce a locally-assembled Sierra wagon in 1984. As a result of this, New Zealand was the only major market in the world where the Telstar and Sierra were sold alongside one another.

A facelifted model (the AS) arrived in late 1985.

Second generation (AT, AV; 1987–1992)

1987–1989 Ford Telstar (AT) GL sedan
1990–1992 Ford Telstar TX5 (AV) Ghia hatchback
1987–1989 Ford Telstar (AT) Ghia sedan
1990–1992 Ford Telstar TX5 (AV) Ghia hatchback

The original generation Telstar was replaced in 1987 with a refreshed version (the AT) on the Mazda GD platform. A station wagon was also available, built on the GD-based GV platform, which was unique to Japan and New Zealand, the engines and drivetrain configurations mirroring those of the hatchback and sedan versions.

Fuel-injection was now standard on the Telstar (AT) in Australia, although local assembly was short-lived, and for a while the model was almost replaced by the Ford Corsair in 1989.

The Corsair was simply a facelifted version of the Nissan Pintara (U12), as the two companies were sharing models under the Button plan. The two were instead sold side-by-side in the Ford range until the third generation Telstar was introduced in 1992. Between 1989 and 1992, the Telstar was only available as the high-performance TX5 hatchback in Australia.

In New Zealand, however, the range remained unchanged. The Nissan Pintara was unavailable there, but it was rebadged as Nissan Bluebird for the New Zealand market. It was technically not in continuity with the main line of Nissan Bluebird models.

Third generation (AX, AY; 1991–1996)

1994 Ford Telstar (AY) Ghia

Following the introduction of the GE platform Mazda 626, Ford introduced its Telstar version, the AX to Japan in October 1991 at Japanese Ford dealerships called Autorama'. The AX series came to Australia in 1992. Then followed the decision by Nissan to end Nissan Pintara manufacturing in Australia during 1992, whereby Ford's rebadged version, the Corsair was also dropped. This left the Telstar as the Ford's sole offering in the mid-size segment of the market. This model was voted as Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1992. Trim levels were LX, GLX, Ghia and GT. The GT model was also available as a special edition 1991–1992. Four-wheel steering was offered in the top-of-the-range Telstar. The Telstar was replaced in Australia by the Mondeo in 1995. New Zealand, like Australia received the AX Telstar in 1992. NZ versions were sold in sedan and hatchback forms, using 1.8L and 2.0L fours, and a 2.5L V6. The wagon version of the previous generation Telstar, continued in local production (as did the Mazda 626) while the previous generation sedan was offered as an entry-level model called Telstar Orion. When the first Mondeos were sold abroad, Ford New Zealand offered a Telstar Contour and a Telstar Mystique (named after the U.S. Ford and Mercury versions of the Mondeo respectively). A high performance V6 version, known as the Telstar Radisich after the New Zealand racing driver Paul Radisich, was also sold locally. Local assembly of the Telstar ceased in 1997, when VANZ's Auckland plant closed, and was replaced in all forms by the Belgian-built Mondeo range. The Telstar was always a popular seller for Ford New Zealand, and they are still common today in all generations on New Zealand's roads.

In South Africa, the Telstar replaced the Ford Sierra in 1993, being assembled by Samcor alongside the Mazda 626. As in New Zealand, a Telstar Contour and Telstar Mystique were offered. In 1998, the Telstar was replaced by the Mondeo, which was later fully imported.

Fourth generation (1994–1997)

Telstar II in Japan

From 1994 through 1996, a special Telstar II was produced alongside the Japan-only Mazda Capella on the CG platform.

Fifth generation (1997–1999)

Ford Telstar (last generation)

The last Telstar, based on the GF platform, was released in 1997, but was only sold in Japan, as Ford was now marketing the Mondeo in the Asian-Pacific region. The Telstar was dropped by Ford of Japan in 1999, as the company sought to differentiate itself from Mazda by concentrating on European and American Ford models. Telstars were briefly available with Mazda's four-wheel steering.


  1. ^ a b c Ford Telstar (GD) at Retrieved on 26 November 2010
  2. ^ Plant Information at
  3. ^ Ford Telstar (GE) at Retrieved on 26 November 2010
  4. ^ Mastrostefano, Raffaele, ed. (1985). Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1985 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. p. 377.  
  5. ^ Webster, Mark (2002), Assembly: New Zealand Car Production 1921–98, Birkenhead, Auckland, New Zealand: Reed, pp. 156, 171,  
  6. ^ Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1985, p. 424