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Ford Oz names last day of production

Falcon territory: Eight generations of the Ford Falcon have been built at the Broadmeadows facility since it was opened in 1960 by then prime minister Sir Robert Menzies.

Broadmeadows, Geelong Ford factories to close on October 7, 2016

Ford logo11 Sep 2015

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

FORD Australia has named October 7, 2016 as the last day of local production for the home-grown Falcon sedan and Territory SUV, marking the beginning of the end for Aussie car manufacturing.

The shutdown will mark the end of 56 years’ production at Broadmeadows and 91 years since the Geelong facility, comprising engine, casting and stamping plants, was established.

Employees were informed of the decision this morning as part of a production-planning meeting for the year ahead.

Confirming the October 7 date to GoAuto, Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Wes Sherwood explained that the decision was based on “a solid year of production” with no down days scheduled, based on “the strength of Falcon and Territory sales”.

Mr Sherwood also confirmed that both Geelong and Broadmeadows will close simultaneously on October 7, with those involved at earlier stages, such as casting and stamping, offered the opportunity to stay working right through to the end.

“One of the things we are receiving a lot of positive feedback from the team on is that we are going to have one final day for everybody on October 7,” he said.

“Clearly some of the earlier facilities in the production process will complete manufacturing earlier but regardless of that, everybody who wants to go through to October 7 will be welcome to do so.” Ford currently has around 850 manufacturing employees between Broadmeadows and Geelong, all of whom stand to lose their jobs, but Mr Sherwood said that 80 per cent of the “several hundred” workers made redundant in the past year had “found new work opportunities outside the company or through redeployment inside the company”.

“As our product development team thrives and continues to get new work on global projects, that is helping with some of the redeployments,” he added.

Ford Australia is working on a swansong for the Falcon range – rumoured to be a hotted-up XR6 Turbo – which Mr Sherwood referred to as “specialty models we are looking at nearer term”.

Further commemorative vehicles to be saved for the last days of production are yet to be decided, but Mr Sherwood revealed that the manufacturing team would have a say in what they will be like.

“In terms of what will happen in October, we are going to have those discussions with the manufacturing team, he said.

“We are going to celebrate our legacy both with manufacturing and with Falcon but we want to work with the manufacturing to determine that and work out what’s most appropriate for them. That is something we will work on as we move through the process.” At the end of October 2016, Ford Australia’s manufacturing facilities will be handed over to Ford’s global decommissioning team, which will prepare the assets for sale.

Mr Sherwood said the process is extensive, complex and likely to last several years.

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