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Ford: We could close before 2016

07 Feb 2014 Industry

Ford We could close before 2016

Ford admits it could cease manufacturing in Australia months or even years ahead of its original 2016 schedule.

The revelation comes just 24 hours after the embattled company announced 300 fresh job losses from its Victorian plants as it attempts to match supply with a rapid decline in demand for its large Aussie-made Falcon and Territory.

The job cuts at Ford’s Broadmeadows and Geelong plants will be enforced in June, when Ford says it will wind back production by a third. Currently Ford produces 133 cars at its Broadmeadows plant per day, with this number to fall to between 80-90 by June.

“Look, no one has a crystal ball and can absolutely guarantee the future,” said Ford spokesperson Wes Sherwood.

“We have always said our intent is to continue manufacturing until that time [2016]. But we also know that if the market situation changes, or there are major disruptions in our ability to produce vehicles, we may need to re-evaluate that timing.

“Clearly we’ve got to be realistic that there are a lot of factors weighing in on these decisions.”

The news comes as no surprise to the executive director of the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce, David Purchase, who warned that Ford’s job cuts could have a flow-on effect for Toyota.

“Clearly it will put more pressure on the government to ensure that Toyota remains,” he said. “It’s disappointing the government is not supporting manufacturing and automotive manufacturing in particular.

“But [Ford’s job cuts] were to be expected and we should expect to see more of this over time. Ford competes in a world market that is extremely tough and competitive. I personally would not be surprised if we see a quicker slowdown or reduction than was first envisaged.”

“We hope Ford will be able to continue to manufacture vehicles until their final day in 2016. However, this is an area of concern.

While production has been reduced, Sherwood told <Wheels> it won’t affect the company’s plans to deliver the next-generation Falcon and Territory – both of which are due later this year.

“We’re still on plan to increase the number of vehicles we’re going to offer and refresh our entire line-up by 2017,” he said.

“We’re also on plan for the launch of the new Falcon and Territory later this year. But we also need to match production with demand and this is tied to what’s happening in the market, which we know is moving towards smaller vehicles. This trend is increasing, so that’s the reality we’re facing.”