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Ford to boost marketing jobs

Off to market: Ford is recruiting 20 additions to its marketing team, which will promote all new models such as the Mustang.

Move to full-line importer, new incoming models sees Ford recruit more marketeers

Ford logo6 Mar 2014


FORD Australia is adding 20 people to its marketing department this year ahead of the new-model barrage it is planning to unleash before the planned shutdown of its manufacturing operations in 2016.

Ford has also started several schemes for employees to help ease the effects of closing its factories in Geelong and Broadmeadows, and the company says it has assisted nine Australian parts suppliers win new business with the US auto giant overseas.

The new appointments will boost the marketing department to around 120 people and are a sign that the company will be able to spend more money in certain areas now that the loss-making manufacturing operations are slated for closure.

The expanded marketing department will have all-new models to work on, including the Mustang and the Everest SUV that will be joining the product range, along with upgraded vehicles such as the last-ever Falcon and Territory models and the European-developed Mondeo.

Announcing the expansion of the marketing department, Ford Australia president Bob Graziano said the company would also reopen its graduate hiring program, with an unspecified number to start work in 2015.

“We expect to become the country’s largest auto employer by 2018,” Mr Graziano said at a function at Brighton Ford in Elsternwick, Melbourne.

He said Ford’s total workforce would be around 1500 people, with up to 1100 of them in the research and development operation based at its headquarters in Broadmeadows.

Some 1200 people will lose their jobs over the next two years as a result of the closure of its car-making operations.

Internally, Mr Graziano said the company had relocated about 20 people from the manufacturing operations into the continuing side of the business.

Ford has also organised a series of “jobs fairs” and a “supplier fair” for March and April with the aim of helping people and companies affected by the closure of manufacturing to find alternative work.

There will be “jobs fairs” in Geelong and Broadmeadows to help employees to move into new careers. Ford says it is also working closely with the training organisation Automotive Skills Australia to offer any retraining that may be required.

The supplier fair will be held in Geelong, but Mr Graziano said the company had already helped nine of its local suppliers find new work offshore.

One company, MHG Group, which specialises in plastic parts, has won a contract to supply parts to Ford’s plant in Thailand, where the company makes the Fiesta and Focus.

“The match-making strategy already has led to nine Australian companies earning business with Ford’s regional and global product operations,” Mr Graziano said.

Speaking on ABC radio in Melbourne this morning, Mr Graziano refused to criticise the federal government over its about-face on automotive industry policy.

“We believe the automotive industry in any country that is privileged to have it is an important ‘pillar’ industry,” he said.

“I have been quite pleased with the support and engagement I have had with government since I arrived three years ago.”

Ultimately, however, he said the small sales volumes available to any one vehicle in the Australian market had made manufacturing impossible.

“In terms of us going forward, we looked at what it would take to continue to produce here and, when you think about the scale in this market, we just weren’t able to put a case together to continue to manufacture, which is why we took the painful decision last year.”

He also rejected the suggestion that industrial relations laws were a major factor and indicated that the carbon tax was not a make-or-break item.

“There are a number of different inputs in the cost of producing vehicles and energy is a part of building vehicles, as is labor and other input costs,” he said.

“There was no one input cost that caused us to make that decision.”

As GoAuto reported exclusively last month, Ford Australia is preparing to cut its production rate to as low as 80 cars a day from June.

Industry sales figures released this week show that Ford sold only 549 Falcon sedans in February (down 37 per cent), 789 Territory SUVs (down 40 per cent) and 232 Falcon utes (down 29 per cent).

If buyers continue to steer clear of its Australian-built cars throughout the course of this year, the company could be forced to cut its build rate further or, in a worst-case scenario, close its operations earlier than the scheduled date of October 2016.

Ford’s official response is that it continues to monitor the situation and will make decisions based on ongoing conditions in the marketplace.

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