News - Ford
Ford Australia land disposal ‘to take years’
Land remediation and other processes expected to stretch Ford land sell off to 2019
24 Feb 2016
FORD Australia says the process of selling off its Australian manufacturing sites is expected to take several years, with properties housing the Victorian factories at Broadmeadows and Geelong unlikely to change hands before 2019.
The company, which is set to bring a halt to its local vehicle production in October this year, says remediation work on the factory sites needs to be considered, along with a raft of other factors, before any property sale can be negotiated.
Dismissing a rumour on Melbourne radio that an Indian motor company might be in line to take over the Broadmeadows assembly plant where Ford currently builds Falcon and Territory, Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Wes Sherwood told GoAuto that the sale process and negotiations with prospective buyers had not yet started, and would not begin until after vehicle production had concluded.
“At the moment, we are focussing on production for the rest of this year,” he said. “The sale process is unlikely to start before next year, and I expect it will be a multi-year process.”
Mr Sherwood said that at a guess, sales of land packages might be completed in “2019-ish”.
Having housed a heavy manufacturing plant since 1960, the Broadmeadows site needs to be audited for potential soil pollution from contaminants such as oil and metals, and if found to be present, removed and the land rehabilitated.
The Geelong site has been a work site even longer, having started automotive production with the T-Model Ford in 1925.
Not all the property will be sold off, with Ford Asia-Pacific’s vehicle development operation retaining large chunks of the Broadmeadows and Geelong sites.
At Broadmeadows, the current design centre will remain, while the former Ford Australia headquarters office building is being renovated to house some of the 1000 or so engineers working on multiple global projects for Ford Motor Company.
The administration, sales, marketing and public affairs have all been moved to a new office in the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond.
Mr Sherwood said it was yet to be decided if two current engineering facilities at Broadmeadows – in rented buildings in a light industrial estate that used to be part of the Ford site – will be retained.
He said the vehicle development operation – with a total of 1300 staff to date – was still growing.
“The head office building will only hold about 300 of them, so they will need other space,” he said.
Just up the road from the main Ford facility, Ford’s largest Australian parts warehouse and related Ford Customer Service offices will also remain to service the import vehicle business into the future.
At Geelong, Ford will retain the engineering research and development centre behind the current engine manufacturing, casting and stamping plants, with the rest to be sold off.
That engineering facility has about 100-150 engineers and technicians, while a further 300 or so engineers and associated staff work at the You Yangs proving ground at Lara, between Melbourne and Geelong.
A new office block to accommodate many of the proving ground staff has been built at the proving ground. To date, the expansion of work programs at the facility has been so great that many staff have been housed in temporary buildings.
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