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Forced redundancy axe falls at Ford

Engine room: Ford’s Geelong engine plant produces in-line six-cylinder powerplants for the locally made Falcon and Territory range.

Latest round of job culls leaves 200 blue-collar Ford workers out of a job

Ford logo23 Jun 2014


FORD has sacked almost 200 workers after a call for its blue-collar workforce to willingly leave the company was largely ignored, forcing the car-maker to cull its workforce with compulsory redundancies.

Seventy-two Ford workers were made redundant in Geelong on Friday, with another 127 at the car-maker’s Broadmeadows assembly line told it would be their final shift.

Another 50 workers had already taken voluntary redundancies, well short of the 300 that the car-maker announced in February it would need to shed this year in response to flagging sales of the locally made Falcon large car and ute range, and Territory SUV.

The announcement that the car-maker would reduce its line rate – the number of cars it makes each day – from 133 to just 83 came a month after the Falcon’s sales hit a record low of 461 units in January, while the Territory slumped to 681 units.

The cuts will leave about 350 blue-collar workers at the car-maker’s Geelong engine-casting plant, and another 450 at the Broadmeadows vehicle assembly line.

This compares with the 1160 blue-collar workers employed at Ford when it announced in May last year that it would cease its Australian car-making operations from late in 2016.

The announcement helped to open up a $267 million black hole in Ford Australia’s accounts last financial year, with Ford in the US still to tip in another $300 million later this year to help the local car-maker prepare for closure after a similar investment last year.

Ford is due to unveil the final versions of the Falcon and Territory ranges later this year that will carry the local manufacturing business through to its closure.

The latest VFACTS figures for May show Falcon sedan sales have rebounded slightly to about 700 units a month, while the Territory is still selling fewer than 900 units. Year to date, the Falcon is down 23 per cent, while the Territory has dropped 33.5 per cent compared with the first five months of 2013.

Earlier this month, Ford unveiled the FPV GT F, the last Ford Performance Vehicles-badged sedan that will wear the performance arm’s badge, as well as a limited-edition Pursuit ute that will sell in even fewer numbers than the sedan.

Ford’s Falcon faces another challenge late this month when the subsidy to encourage buyers to use LPG as a fuel rather than petrol dries up, which could add $1000 to the price of the $39,735-plus car.

Private buyers are yet to warm to the fuel, with only 72 sales pegged to the two cars that come off local production lines equipped to run on LPG – the Falcon and its rival Holden Commodore.

Business and government buyers have accounted for another 752 LPG sales in the first five months of this year, VFACTS data shows.

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