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Falcon had to go, says Ford global chief

Tough love: Ford’s Alan Mulally says the US car-maker is doing the right thing by Australian car buyers.

Mulally loved the Falcon, but large-car customers have moved on

19 Aug 2013

KILLING off the Falcon after 50 years of local production was Ford’s only option in the end, according to the car-maker’s global chief executive Alan Mulally.

But the company decided to give three years’ notice of the closure and committed to next year’s late-life makeover of the Falcon “out of respect for all the stakeholders” and to ensure an orderly transition.

“Of course, it is a serious consideration where we decide to make things, but the world is becoming more and more integrated and you have to be competitive,” Mr Mulally saidl while mingling with Ford dealers after last week’s ‘Go Further’ event in Sydney.

“You have to be competitive or you don’t get a chance to stay in business and serve the customer.

“We’re doing the right thing by the consumer in the longer term.”

Closing the Broadmeadows and Geelong plants, he said, was part of the challenge of continually improving quality and productivity so Ford could perform more efficiently in the global market.

He said the decision did not reflect on the quality of the Falcon or the plant that builds it.

“I loved the Falcon the first time I was in it. But (the large car) market is really, really small. The customers have moved on to smaller, more efficient vehicles, and this is exactly what we are going to provide.”

When asked why Ford would continue local production until 2016, he said it was out of respect to “stakeholders”, suggesting Ford was doing the right thing by its suppliers, employees and the government.

“We really want to have an orderly transition, out of respect for all the stakeholders. That’s why we are refreshing the Falcon, because there are a lot of people that love the Falcon. And we will refresh the Territory, too.”“Absolutely we are doing the right thing for all the stakeholders involved, including employees, the supply base, the industry, we’re doing absolutely the right thing.”

Mr Mulally said there was nothing the government could have done to keep the Ford plants open, and no amount of money that would have swayed Ford’s US-based board of directors.

“We have worked very hard to make a viable business here. We have had a tremendous public/private partnership and we are just not competitive making vehicles here in Australia.

“So we are doing the right thing. Any company needs to be making a reasonable return so they can continue to invest in new products.

“You know, this is the most open market in the world, the most competitive market in the world.

“There are more brands here than anywhere else in the world. There are more marques than in the rest of the world.

“This is a really competitive market and if you are going to get a chance to participate here, you have to be really competitive.”

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