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Ford Australia 'won't quit early'

Hanging in: Ford's Australian manufacturing is destined to last until 2016, says local boss Bob Graziano

Graziano commits Ford manufacturing to 2016 end date, despite low Falcon sales

Ford logo10 Jun 2014

FORD Australia president Bob Graziano has given reassurances that the Blue Oval company has no plans to walk away from its Australian manufacturing operation ahead of its scheduled closing date in October 2016.

Speaking at the media launch for the latest and last Falcon GT today, Mr Graziano said the company had every intention of honouring its commitment to its employees, suppliers and customers by producing its local Falcon and Territory through to the end date.

“Everything we said we would do, we have done, and will continue to do,” he said. “There's no change to the plan.” Mr Graziano said he was proud of the way Ford's head office had handled the Australian factory situation, honouring its commitments and ensuring an orderly shut-down schedule.

He said the company was on course to launch its facelifted Falcon and Territory ranges later this year, and they would carry production through to the 2016 end date.

This facelift would boost volumes to levels acceptable to retain production over the final two years, he said.

So far this year, Falcon sales are down 23 per cent, running at a historically low rate of about 700 units a month.

Territory sales are down more than 33 per cent, although it is selling about 100 units a month more than the Falcon.

Mr Graziano said Ford's Australian operations were destined to be the “dominant force in the Australian auto industry” in the post-manufacturing era, with 1100 engineers now working on Ford projects for a variety of markets.

Rivals Holden and Toyota are both winding back most of their engineering operations in Australia, although General Motors has committed to retaining some engineers at its Lang Lang proving ground, along with a design presence.

Mr Graziano defended the decision not to continue with an FPV GT model into the new facelifted Falcon range from late this year, saying the shrinking size of the premium V8 car market meant that a final run of GT now was appropriate.

He said Ford fans had also requested the return of the Falcon XR8, which would fly the V8 flag in the facelifted range.

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