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Ford plans ‘respectful’ local manufacturing shutdown
Ford plans ‘family celebration’ for local production shutdown – with eye on future
21 Mar 2016
FORD Australia president and CEO Graeme Whickman has revealed that a “quiet celebration” will signify the closure of the company’s local vehicle manufacturing operations after 91 years.
A Falcon rather than a Territory will be the final car down the Broadmeadows assembly plant on Friday, October 7, however the model variant has yet to be determined.
Mr Whickman added that the process will involve some of Ford’s future models slated for 2017 and beyond, although what they will be remains a closely guarded secret.
“Part of the process for October 7, or a date around then, is that we’ll have what will be a family celebration,” Mr Whickman told GoAuto at the final Falcon variant launch – the Sprint – in Tasmania last week.
“We’re talking about employees, suppliers and dealers – to honour the nameplates, and we’ll honour the people who’ve been involved with those nameplates through time. That’s what we’re planning.”
While there will most likely be a media event surrounding the closure, Ford Australia’s priority is with its people past and present.
“It won’t be some big public event. It’s going to be something that’s personal and private for the people involved,” Mr Whickman said. “We will position the celebration around Falcon, Territory and the Falcon ute appropriate to the audience. That’s why it’s a private affair.”
While mindful of respecting the demise of two of the most iconic models ever made in Australia, Mr Whickman said the job of moving forward with their replacements is also well underway, adding that by October some of the pieces of the puzzle will be on hand.
A direct replacement for the Falcon is not on the agenda but, as GoAuto has reported, the company is preparing to soon announce its Territory successor, which is expected to be based on the current North American Edge.
“We’re going to sit those (new) vehicles metaphorically alongside the line-up we have today and what we have for the future,” Mr Whickman said.
“Our job is to make sure that consumers in Australia understand that there actually are all these great vehicles, and that we actually are a viable choice, and we want to earn their right to earn their custom.
“So clearly we will be very careful around how we position we retire with grace and dignity, honouring those nameplates, and at the same time talking about our future as well.”
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