Ford of Europe is supplying cars for a big-budget remake of Thunderbirds, which will see Lady Penelope driving a Ford rather than her trademark pink Rolls-Royce.
Ford has supplied a variety of cars for the film, including concept cars and product placements of its recently launched Focus C-Max, together with specialist vehicles created by Ford Design Europe.
Neither Ford nor Universal Pictures would comment on the amount spent on the tie-up, but both describe the production as a “collaboration”. A Universal spokeswoman says: “Rolls-Royce declined the collaboration and Ford proved to be the most enthusiastic partner.”
The film, directed by Jonathan Frakes and starring Sir Ben Kingsley, is due to be released in the summer. It is produced by Working Title, the production company behind Bridget Jones’s Diary and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Earlier this year, Paramount Pictures released a remake of The Italian Job, which was panned for its over-emphatic product placement of BMW’s new Mini.
Thunderbirds’ tie-up with Ford could also face a backlash, after it was criticised by Gerry Anderson, creator of the cult series upon which the film is based. He says the Ford is inappropriate for Lady Penelope, who would only drive a Rolls-Royce.