VIDEO: Geetroit – After 90 Years Ford Australia Closes Local Manufacturing

MyDrive | Written by Adam Tonkin – The rise and fall of a great Australian automotive manufacturer came to a bitter end today with Bob Graziano, President and CEO of Ford Australia announcing the closure of the Geelong and Melbourne manufacturing plants in October 2016.

Ford Australia has manufactured cars in Australia for 90 years and announced that they have been forced to close their doors due to sliding profits, poor sales and escalating costs.  Ford Australia has not turned a profit on locally manufactured cars since 2003.

This closure spells a devastating end to a great Australian icon which will see major job losses not only at Ford Australia but throughout businesses that have supported the Australian manufacturer.  Our thoughts go out to the families and friends that made Ford Australia a household name.

Ford Australia today announced an after-tax operating loss of $141 (AUD) million for the 2012 financial year. This follows a loss of $290 million in 2011. Ford plans to transform its Australian business and expand its vehicle lineup by 30 per cent by 2016 to return to profitability.

The loss was a result of the re-alignment of the company’s business in November 2012. During this time, production changed from 209 vehicles per day to 148 vehicles per day in a direct response to changing customer preferences, which have driven a continued industrywide decline in the sale of large vehicles. As a result, Ford has impaired its asset base by $143 million.

Chief Financial Officer Mark Rearick noted that the financial results mirror the restructure. “We had a 30 per cent reduction in volume at the end of last year, and our financial results reflect that we had to re-value our asset base by a corresponding amount, accounting for the loss,” Rearick said.

This restructure was a result of Ford Australia remaining focused on key aspects of the global One Ford plan, including:

  • Aggressively restructuring to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix
  • Accelerating the development of new products that customers want and value
  • Financing the plan and improving the balance sheet
  • Working together effectively as one team, leveraging Ford’s global assets

For the second consecutive year, Ford invested more than $200 million dollars across research, development and facilities for a broad range of global and local vehicle development programs. Last year saw Ford’s investment reach $270 million dollars which brings the company’s Ford’s total R&D investment in Australia during the past six years to more than $1.9 billion, making it the largest R&D investor of any automaker in Australia.

In 2013, Ford will continue transforming its Australian business by accelerating the introduction of new products for Australian customers, enhancing the sales and service experience, and improving its business efficiency and profitability. This includes launching updated versions of Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory, as well as offering other world-class products such as Ford Kuga, Focus and Ranger.

“We will continue to invest in our product development facilities in Australia,” said Bob Graziano, president and CEO of Ford Australia. “Last year, our investment helped us unveil first-class improvements, such as the creation of our Virtual Reality Centre. In addition to bringing our customers a great line-up of vehicles, Ford Australia will continue to be known as a centre of excellence in this space.”

Other income of $112 million was derived primarily from the Government’s Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS), which is a result of our research and development and local
production. This accounted for just 3.7 per cent of Ford’s total revenue for 2012.

For further information on Ford Australia, click > www.ford.com.au

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