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Mike Stevens | Mar, 06 2014 | 18 Comments
  • New models for 2014/15: Focus and Falcon updates, new Mondeo, Mustang and Everest
  • Hiring 20-strong marketing and sales team for coming model blitz
  • Expects to field 1500 employees in engineering and design alone
  • Helping workers transition to new roles inside and outside of Ford Australia business
  • Working with suppliers to find new opportunities with Ford globally

Ford says it is working to rapidly transform from manufacturer to full-range importer, ahead of the 2016 shutdown of its Australian production facilities.

In a release today, the company confirmed plans to roll out a number of refreshes and new models by 2015 - including some previously expected in 2016.

Among those 2015 launches will be the new Mustang, along with the Everest 4WD that has so far been shown only in concept form.

The new Mondeo, now two years old, will also make its Australian debut in 2015 - likely following an international update to the range.

Later this year, Ford Australia will introduce the re-styled Focus and, at last, the final Falcon facelift. A final update to the Territory will also arrive in late 2014.

A major facelift and technology overhaul will headline the Falcon's updates, and the fan-favourite XR8 will also return to the range.

Vitally, Ford will also ramp up its marketing spend, which has historically been a problem area for the brand locally and considered a factor in the Falcon’s demise.

The company confirmed today it will hire around 20 marketing and sales professionals this year to strengthen the advertising of its new and refreshed models.

Speaking today, Ford Australia boss Bob Graziano said the company expects to become the local auto industry’s biggest employer by 2018.

As part of that hiring blitz, Ford began recruiting graduates last month for full-time product development positions - as part of Ford’s global product force - that will begin in 2015.

“As the industry transitions, we expect to become the country’s largest auto employer by 2018 - something we take great pride in considering this will include about 1500 highly skilled employees across professions such as engineering and design,” Graziano said.

Ford Australia is still a company in transition however, and Graziano said that helping workers and supply partners move to new roles and opportunities remains a priority.

“Helping employees transition to the next phases of their careers and lives is a critical priority for Ford,” said Graziano.

He said that around 20 employees have moved into new roles in Ford that will not be affected by 2016 production end, along with new jobs outside of Ford.

The company says it is working with the government-funded Automotive Skills Australia to train workers for new opportunities, and a series of ‘Jobs Fairs’ will be held in Geelong and Broadmeadows to help those looking for career opportunities.

A $10 million contribution has also been made to Federal and Victorian Government Innovation and Investment Funds for the development of new projects in Geelong and Melbourne’s North.

For suppliers, Graziano said that Ford is introducing suppliers to opportunities within the company’s global program, describing the project as a “match-making” strategy.

He said that nine Australian companies have now secured business with Ford’s global product operations.

A Ford Supplier Trade Fair will be held in Geelong on March 12-13.

“We have seen firsthand for many years the dedication and innovation of Australia’s auto suppliers,” said Graziano. “We are pleased to work with them to expand their expertise on a global scale.”

 
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