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Ford’s Falcon finally runs out

Over and out: March was a Falcon-free month as Ford’s locally built car stocks were exhausted.

Aussie-built Ford cars disappear from sales data 16 months after factory closure

Ford logo5 Apr 2018

FORD’S Australian-built cars are now history. March was the first month since Ford began manufacturing vehicles in Australia in 1925 that the company’s dealer network sold no locally made vehicles.

The sales tallies for Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory in the March VFACTS sales data report all showed zero, meaning two Falcons recorded as sold in February are likely to be the last of the line, a full 16 months after Ford shuttered its Broadmeadows assembly plant in October 2016.

The last Territorys – three of them – were sold in January, while the last Falcon Ute was sold last September.

Unless a Ford dealer has a random remnant vehicle in the back lot somewhere, that should be it for Australian-made cars bearing the blue oval.

Ford started making cars in Australia in June 1925 when workers in Geelong began assembling Model Ts from kits sent from North America by Ford Australia’s parent company, Ford of Canada.

The first assembly line was in a disused wool store that was used until Ford’s purpose-built factory at Norlane, on Geelong’s northern fringe, was completed in 1926.

Ford began car assembly at the Broadmeadows plant in 1960 when it introduced the Falcon, and it was there that the last Falcon – and the last Australian Ford – rolled off the line on October 7, 2016.

With Holden and Toyota locally made cars also rapidly drying up after they too closed local manufacturing in October last year, just 3214 Australian-built cars have been sold this year compared with 13,142 in the first quarter of 2017.

As a source of new cars in this market, Australia has slipped to 10th, behind countries such as Hungary and Spain.

These days, Ford imports the bulk of its vehicles from Thailand. These include its top selling Ranger ute and related Everest, along with Focus and Fiesta for the moment.

Once up a time, Ford alone built up to 150,000 cars a year in plants across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

In the meantime, Ford has reinvented itself in Australia as a vehicle development centre, designing and engineering vehicles such as the Ranger and Everest for the world.

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