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Ford Australia denies early exit report

Not yet: Slow sales of the facelifted Ford Falcon – launched with staff fanfare in November – have prompted rumours of an early exit for Ford manufacturing in Australia.

Australian Ford factories to stick with planned closure in 2016, says Ford Australia

Ford logo11 Feb 2015

FORD Motor Company has hosed down rumours it is considering closing its Australian manufacturing plants at Campbellfield and Geelong in June, more than a year ahead of schedule.

A report in The Australian newspaper suggests Ford Australia is under pressure to close early, due to collapsing sales of locally made vehicles, including Falcon.

A caller to Melbourne’s 3AW this morning said the rumour among Ford employees was that its operations would shut in June.

But Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Wes Sherwood told GoAuto that Ford’s exit strategy remained unchanged, with production set to continue until October 2016 as planned.

“We are still on track with our plans to transition from manufacturing next year, and at the same time becoming Australia’s largest auto employer with our growing product development organisation,” he said.

The company announced in May 2013 that local production would come to the end of the line in 2016, with the loss of 1200 manufacturing jobs across the two factories.

In June last year, 300 job redundancies were brought forward due to falling production. At that time, Ford Australia president Bob Graziano gave a public assurance that Ford had no plans to walk away from its October 2016 closure schedule.

Falcon sales fell to an all-time low of 381 units in January, down 17.4 per cent on the same month last year.

Falcon Ute sales were even worse, down 31.2 per cent to just 163 sales, but the Territory SUV fared better, with 639 sales, a fall of just 6.2 per cent.

Falcon sales are disappointing, considering the effort put in by Ford designers and engineers on the FG X major facelift launched in November.

Slow January sales for Ford continues a long slow decline for the Blue Oval brand, whose market share dipped to a record low 6.1 per cent in 2014 – down one full percentage point on 2013.

Ford Australia is set to mark 90 years of car production in June. The first Australian-built T-Model Ford rolled from the Geelong production line in June 1925.

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