Ford Australia - What Next? The Development Future As Local Production Ends Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Oct, 11 2016 | 3 Comments

The final cars have rolled off the production line and the dust is quickly settling on Ford’s Broadmeadows and Geelong manufacturing plants in Australia.

Of the three remaining mainstream carmakers in Australia, Ford was the first to announce its withdrawal and the first to close its doors.

Toyota and Holden will follow suit next year, but while a similar Q4 closure date seems logical, the exact timeline for both is unclear at this stage.

Holden has already begun to wind down its facilities, with the locally-built Holden Cruze bidding farewell on the same day as Ford’s Falcon and Territory.

Ford has already indicated the fate of its final locally-built cars, which includes a Falcon ute, and now the carmaker is looking to the next chapter for Ford Australia.

Despite 600 employees clocking off for the final time on Friday last week, Ford has taken every opportunity to remind fans and industry observers that it will maintain the largest workforce of all carmakers operating in Australia post-2017.

With a skilled workforce of around 2000 employed in Ford's Australian Design and Engineering hub, Ford says it is committed to local research and development in the automotive industry.

Of the 2000, around 160 will be employees that have transitioned from manufacturing-based roles.

“We are saying goodbye to some of our proud and committed manufacturing employees and marking an end to 91 years of manufacturing in Australia,” Ford Australia CEO, Graeme Whickman, said.

“But, as the country’s largest automotive investor and soon employer, we have been able to transfer many employees from our plants to our design, engineering and testing facilities across Victoria.”

On the claim of ‘largest automotive investor’, Ford is investing $300 million into R&D in Australia this year.

Ford’s best-selling vehicle in Australia - the Ranger pickup - features a significant degree of local engineering input, as does the carmaker’s relatively new 4WD wagon - the Ranger-based Everest.

The company says its Australian team leads global development on these models, and that the community can expect Ford to maintain a “major presence” in Australia for many years to come.

Besides its commitments to local R&D, Ford says its customers can expect 20 new or freshened vehicles by 2020, an enhanced sales and service experience along with improvements to business efficiency and profitability.

MORE: Prodrive Racing Brings Tickford-Enhanced Road cars Back To Australia
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