By on July 30, 2012

An Australian financial publication is quoting two auto industry players who say that Ford will exit their Australian manufacturing operations, taking the Ford Falcon and Territory with them.

According to the International Business Times

“Ford will still be here selling cars but it will not be manufacturing cars in Australia,” PPB Advisory partner Stephen Longley, a receiver for collapsed automotive supplier companies, told The Australian Financial Review.

In fact, “I don’t expect them to be here after 2016 when the Euro 5 standards kick in.”

This month alone, Ford laid off 15 percent of its workforce after collecting substantial handouts from the Australian government. While the Falcon is something of an Australian institution, consumers have been moving towards small cars in increasing numbers, leaving the Falcon and the Holden Commodore to become relics of a bygone era.

 

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94 Comments on “Ford To Shut Down Australian Manufacturing In 2016...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    So is that the end of the V8 Supercar series?

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      Well, that headline was pretty much bogus, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Last of the V8 interceptors.

    • 0 avatar
      Styles79

      The V8 Supercar series has been working on a solution for this for some time. With the new “Car of the future” rules there is a control chassis, and a manufacturer puts their own panels on to make it look like whatever car they want. There are standard engines, or a manufacturer can run their own V8, with a parity system (restrictors I believe). Nissan is going to be racing in 2013 with an Altima, even though the road car is neither a V8 or rear wheel drive.

      So we end up with a race series not dissimlar is some ways to the WRC when they abandoned group A, which, for me, killed all relevance.

      Oh well, I’m sure there’ll sill be plenty of bogans on the top of the Mt Panorama getting boozed on VB who couldn’t care less what the cars are under the skin, as long as they’re V8 and RWD….

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Wow, how does the folks down under take this news? Ford has been manufacturing cars down there for ages. They’re almost considered a local car company. This would feel like Ford is shutting down all US manufacturing for folks there.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    You should be clear that this is speculation from outsiders, not a news story confirmed by Ford management.

    That being said, I have to agree that it’s probably a matter of time before Ford just imports into Australia. There are a lot of factors that would encourage them to stop production there, and not much reason to continue with it.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      I don’t know. Look at all of the North American plants… there seems to be a bit of favoritism for local economies. That or I’m just fooled by legacy contracts.

  • avatar
    catt102

    the resource curse strikes again. with the strong aussie dollar, making $$$$ building cars for export is pretty tough.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    As long as Australia remains a massive exporter of raw materials and commodities, the Australian dollar will remain strong and the rational behind keeping a car manufacturing plant in Australia will remain weak.

    • 0 avatar
      rmwill

      Except for GM… I have no idea why GM thinks it will make money selling cop cars made in Australia.

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        If Ford do indeed pull out of Australia, I’m willing to bet that GM won’t be far behind. While sorting out the massive problem that is Opel and Vauxhall and their combined 45k employees will be quite hard, Holden is a tiny outfit by comparison, and would not be all that difficult to sh*tcan if GM so desired.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        They might not make money, but they might lose less soaking up volume at Holden by making cars for export.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I thought I read somewhere as part of the recent *Australian* bailout conditions from their government, Holden has to build X% of models for export each year. This is probably why GM is doing the Aussie built Caprice to NA, after all the tooling is already there for the Statemen… I also believe they are still building a RWD Buick for Chinese export, they are probably the same basic model. If there’s a market, why not?

        Now is any of that profitable? That’s another story…

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        GM never figured on the AUS dollar putting the bitch slap on the US dollar, all this imported from OZ stuff wasn’t supposed to have been so expensive. I suppose here and now, GM just doesn’t want to waste the money.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      As Ford has not traditionally exported much of the Australian product, the value of the currency probably doesn’t mean much in this equation. There are other factors that are more relevant.

      Most importantly, the tariffs that were used to protect the Australian domestic market are being wound down. That should have the effect of increasing competition, which should restrain car prices, which takes the profit out of making a low volume, moderately priced car for a small market.

      Australian tastes are changing to a point that world cars can be sold there, instead of Aussie-specific sedans.

      The new carbon tax could make some heavy industry unattractive in Australia.

      Wages are relatively high.

      All told, there isn’t much reason to build a car specifically in Australia when it can be imported from a higher volume market. Barring a surge in demand for Falcons, the only way to reverse that is to bring back that the tariffs, and that isn’t going to happen.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Unfortunately Ford US did not allow Ford Australia to export the Falcon.
        Just lately Ford Australia was going to try an export the very successful Ford Territory SUV(Think Explorer, but with a diesel engine, vastly better off road and towing capacity}. Problem with the “Free Trade” agreement we had with Thailand, they decided to at the last minute impose a special tax for such vehicles. So much for Free Trade.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Unfortunately Ford US did not allow Ford Australia to export the Falcon.”

        You say that as if Americans would actually want the Falcon. There isn’t much proof of that.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        They could have killed Panther ten years ago (or relegated it to fleet only much earlier) and replaced it with Falcon for their RWD offerings. I would purchase one of cars shown in the image all day long over the current Taurus. I suppose there wasn’t a market… although what’s the market for Taurus/MKS either.

      • 0 avatar

        As far as I am aware, the BA Falcon unlike the VE Commodore was never designed or had the tooling for left hand drive. So exporting it was never an option like it has been for the Commodore.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        “(Think Explorer, but with a diesel engine, vastly better off road and towing capacity}.”

        You are most certainly joking aren’t you? The Territory is horrible off road.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        “As far as I am aware, the BA Falcon unlike the VE Commodore was never designed or had the tooling for left hand drive.”

        They stopped making the BA Falcon seven years ago BTW, but yes you are right.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    Problem with Ford Australia, is that it’s products were not absorbed into the overall Ford supply chain, like GM and Toyota have done locally. What made it worse any attempts to export the Falcon was killed by Ford US. When the Falcon goes in 2016, Ford as a company will be dead here too, as the only thing selling in reasonable numbers id the Territory. The New Ranger, Mondeo and Fiesta are not selling well at all. “One Ford” since its implementation locally has seen overall Ford sales plummet in Australia.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      They’re already a lame duck. From 3rd place to 5th in the ranking in a couple of months (and I bet they will slide even more), no ads on the good technology they put in the Falcon (and I’ve heard more stories on this on top of the usual ECOLPi and ECOboost ones).

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Sad to see, but the geniuses who implemented “One Ford” are responsible for this. Ford Australia and Ford Europe were doing reasonably well until they decided on this irrational strategy.
        It maybe a race to see who collapses first Ford Australia in 2016 or Ford Globally?. Holden had that happen in when GM went bankrupt. They ere a profitable subsidiary to a bankrupt parent company.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Man, regarding the Territory you’re spot on. I saw both, Explorer and Territory side to side in the street and couldn’t believe how much better the local one is compared to the US truck. And that is before factoring in that the local one must handle much much better than its US counterpart.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    I expect GM and Ford to do this with Canada also.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I would like to see ALL auto manufacturers move more production to Mexico. It would keep more illegal aliens at home instead of over here.

      It also would keep the UAW from spreading their venom about the non-union plants in the US.

      This is what NAFTA was all about! Let’s manufacture more within the North American Free Trade area!

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s just a matter of time until most Fords are only built in 3rd world location except for a few token models that sell big in North America.

    Definitely the F-150, Expedition, Mustang, Explorer and a couple other SUVs will stay be home grown in the US, but that’s about it.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      They way Ford is imploding due too “One Ford” I would not put my money on those being viable. The F150, from my understanding has a lot of it built in Canada and Mexico.
      Although all Automobile manufacturers are doing it tough in Europe, Ford is doing very badly there. GM has massive problems as well with Opel.
      On the other hand, VW, Daimler and Renault have made profits in a very much downmarket.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @Pch101, You cannot want something unless you have tried it. If they did not allow it to be exported that is their problem. The Taurus, Explorer and F250 were introduced by Ford Australia and had spetacular demises here. So imported Fords have not had a great track record in Australia.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “You cannot want something unless you have tried it.”

      You guys don’t want them. Why would you presume that anybody else would?

      That being said, I do think that there is a somewhat lost opportunity to develop a common platform that could be used for Mustangs, Lincolns, an executive saloon or two for Europe and a new Falcon. As it stands, I believe that there are plans for a shared Mustang and Falcon platform, although you have to wonder whether the Falcon would be considered to be worth the trouble.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        They may eventually do that, but I doubt Australia would be taking the engineering lead. If there is ever another RWD 4-door Ford car, look to the US/Europe.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        The Ford Falcon was the 2nd best selling car in Australia in 2001. Lack of funding from Ford US and a lack of export opportunities has hindered it considerably.
        No once Ford leaves Australia , that is it for Ford here. We do not like companies that fail.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Well the Mustang would struggle outside NA. They really need to look at their products a lot more. Against the Asian and European competition Ford is struggling globally.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “The Ford Falcon was the 2nd best selling car in Australia in 2001.”

        Buggy whips were really popular in the 19th century. Does that really matter in today’s transportation market?

        Australia used to have a protected car market that naturally favored Ford and Holden. That protection is rapidly disappearing.

        If you want to see a resurgence for Falcons, then you had better get your tariffs back. But even if you could get the tariffs (and you won’t), that wouldn’t be good for the Australian average consumer.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Gillard’s carbon taxes aren’t going to help Falcon/Statesman at home either. Much like they neglected Panther, it seems Falcon wasn’t kept competitive and as PCH pointed out, the tariffs aren’t coming back. Ford offloaded all of their other foreign marquees, perhaps this strategy was to include offshore manufacturing as well.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Your assuming the next Mustang will be the same vehicle as currently produced. Platform sharing is now the name of the game. The Mustang is the only Ford product that doesn’t share its platform with anything else. The next one will have a platform mate.

    • 0 avatar
      Viquitor

      Don’t know about Explorer and Taurus, but the F250 sold in Australia was actually the brazilian version, made in São Paulo.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        The Explorer and Taurus came from the US. Yes the Brazilian built F250(shudder). Diesel F250′s generally are pretty ordinary as far as ride , off road and build quality goes, but do have a niche here as a tower of 5th Wheelers, Large Caravans, smaller horse floats and boats.

  • avatar
    modelt1918

    Refresh me on Euro 5 Standards.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    Euro 5 is the default global standard for emissions requirement. The US does not have Euro 5, but the latest in the Tier standards. Problem is the Tier standards and Euo5 are not compatible. So Ford cannot import an automobile that meets US Tier standards but not Euro 5 a growing problem. RV’s can import some Tier compatible HD Diesel Pickups into Australia under a limited import quota scheme for their personal use.(Nothing like this exists in the US)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Emissions. Sure let’s let meaningless CO2 standards hurt an economy while the roaring economies pollute as they will and undo whatever help the emissions standards hope to achieve.

      All a smoke screen folks, its all about economic control.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Agreed. Problem occurs with them, when they have to export vehicles and have to meet pollution regulations.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        The Euro 5 and Tier standards have nothing to do with CO2. CO (carbin monoxide) and other pollutants, yes.

        Time for the US and EU to agree on a common emission standards framework.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed th009, a reasonable common standard is logical.

        My point above is emissions are just a smoke screen for economic control, this isn’t 1975 and pollution so widespread smog hangs above major cities. If I were in a position of political power I would fight this non-sense tooth and nail.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        “Time for the US and EU to agree on a common emission standards framework.”

        Good luck at that.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    “I thought I read somewhere as part of the recent *Australian* bailout conditions from the their government, Holden has to build X% of models for export each year.”

    Yes was not a bailout, but yes they were to be export orientated to make the company viable. So far they are exporting to the Middle east, New Zealand, Brazil and the US

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    ” I suppose there wasn’t a market… although what’s the market for Taurus/MKS either.”. The Taurus when it was imported was one of the worst selling cars Ford Australia has ever had. So it was a real “stinker” locally.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I thought I read somewhere the US spec Taurus/MKS aren’t true cars in the sense of the word. The Edge/Explorer/Taurus and perhaps a few other models all share a common platform. This explained to me why the Taurus and MKS are so incredible misshapen as cars, its because they essentially are not.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        What do you mean they aren’t true cars? Just like the Volvo S80 isn’t a true car? The Ford D3 and D4 platforms are updates on a Volvo platform. The MKS/MKT/Flex/Taurus/Explorer have similar underpinnings, just like every other automotive manufacturer’s cars and CUVs. Do you really think the 5 series and X5 don’t share parts underneath?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m not up on my modern automobile engineering, but if a platform was designed loosely enough to be used as a larger, wider SUV, and also as a sedan, it’s not really fair to call it a ‘car’. Station wagons of old were literally the BOF car with an extended trunk/hatch. These Ford SUV/CUV/sedans aren’t nearly as simple.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        There are actually two separate platforms. D3 and D4. D3 is the car based platform that is a revised Volvo S60/80.

        The D4 platform is what the MKT/Flex/Explorer are based on, which is a revised D3 platform made for CUVs.

        It was designed for a sedan first, then a CUV. Just like the A6/Q5 or 5 series/X5

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    “Time for the US and EU to agree on a common emission standards framework.” Add Japan as well, as they have their own standard.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    “Only the F-650 and F-750 Super Duty trucks are built in Mexico. The F-150 is built in Dearborn and Kansas City. Oakville used to build some F-series,but not since 2004″
    Could add so far. wait a few more years.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Over the last 20 years, the percentage of F150s made in the US has gone up. Ford has even moved more Super Duty production to the US. The 650 and 750 are built at a joint factory with Navistar, and we know how well that relationship is going. If anything, I can see the 650 and 750 coming back stateside.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        None of these vehicles can be exported outside NA. They are going to building Transits in the US, with diesels imported from Europe.
        Quite bizarre to have a One Ford” category for US Pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        There are only two “One Ford” vehicles. Just because they are trying to platform share across the globe does not mean they will alter the most profitable vehicle in the history of mankind just so they can export it to Europe and Asia. There will always be regional differences and local niches.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        bball40dtw – you’re right. Avon Lake will be getting the chassis.

        Super Duty has been KTP for a long while, now. The last F series sold in the US build outside of the US was sourced from Oakville. The Lobo(Mexico F-150) used to be made in Cuatitlan, but now it’s exported from DTP.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Tresmonos, is that the E-series plant?

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Yes.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    ““The Ford Falcon was the 2nd best selling car in Australia in 2001.”

    Buggy whips were really popular in the 19th century. Does that really matter in today’s transportation market?

    Australia used to have a protected car market that naturally favored Ford and Holden. That protection is rapidly disappearing. ”
    Like what is happening in the US Market, where so called “Imports” but built in the US are domination the car market.
    Holden went onto dominate the Australian market AFTER tariffs were dropped, nothing stopping Ford from doing the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Locock

      Actually the Falcon’s %age share of the Australian large car segment has /increased/ (slightly) over the past 10 years. The problem is that the size of that segment has shrunk by 75%.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    “Gillard’s carbon taxes aren’t going to help Falcon/Statesman at home either. Much like they neglected Panther, it seems Falcon wasn’t kept competitive and as PCH pointed out, the tariffs aren’t coming back. Ford offloaded all of their other foreign marquees, perhaps this strategy was to include offshore manufacturing as well.”
    If you work out what that “strategy” is, as it is certainly not working.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      While Jaguar over the long course of its ownership was a bit of a wash, I think they kick themselves over dumping JLR when they did and Volvo cars was an albatross from almost the word go. I could see the logic in divesting from these marques, now going ahead and screwing up the Ford brand in other countries this I may have left alone… unless the oracles in Dearborn see something I don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Interesting that JLR and Volvo(acquired ironically enough by an Australian CEO of Ford) were “dead weights” under Ford Management, but blossomed after leaving Ford?

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        The current Jaguars (XF, Xj, XK) we’re all developed under Ford’s watch. The current cars are beautiful *but* Tata has had en edge in that they didn’t need to commit as many resources for platform development.

        The real test is what happens when the new generation of cars are developed.

        That said, I’ve always thought Ford should’ve kept JLR. They posess a global presence and appeal that Lincoln doesn’t and probably never will have.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    “There are only two “One Ford” vehicles.”
    That is the irony , there is a “One Ford” for everyone outside NA, but not the same rules for NA? Either way the whole silly policy should be abandoned quickly, otherwise we will be talking about FORD in the past tense.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Sure, blame ‘One Ford’ for killing the ‘precious’ Falcon, but ignore your own Gov’t’s “Carbon Taxes” and ending of Tariffs. Increased competition? Sounds like the US car market in the 80′s. Welcome to the real world!

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-news/fourcylinder-falcon-flops-20120717-2272o.html

      This article illustrates your point by revealing how the Australian government has put rules in place that prevent state governments from buying many Falcons. What is not many? Like 35 in a three month period. The Falcon is on track to sell about 14,000 units this year in Australia. The same big government that bribes Ford and GM to keep these cars in production intentionally created the market where they’re not relevant.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        A self proclaimed free marketeer who blames the failure of a car on a lack of government fleet sales. Irony is a funny thing.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        http://www.caradvice.com.au/87763/fcai-calls-on-federal-government-to-tighten-rules-on-cleaner-car-rebate/

        Free market at work? Australia is trying to get its public out of their traditional cars even as they’re paying to keep production in the country. Maybe they don’t realize it for the same reason you don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      “One Ford” is destroying Ford Subsidiaries like a wrecking ball. Well No tariffs has affected both Holden and Toyota, both have survived and progressed. Not so ford.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    How many units does Ford sell down under? Where would they get the new ones, South Africa?

  • avatar
    DownEaster

    I’d love to see the Falcon brought to the US and sold here. I think it would have a market in the US and in the Middle East. The strong Australian Dollar hurts importing it into the US. It would also be a good basis for a new Mustang platform. RWD still sells as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger show. Australia should also protect its own manufacturing and not lose it. Imports are fine but building cars in a country has many multipliers with other related jobs in service industries and making parts. One product line across the world does not always work like the Ford Contour of the late 1990s showed. Cars still need to be different in different countries. The car companies in Japan sell different version of larger cars in North America than in Europe. So Australia should be able to have a niche market for the Falcon and be able to export it. Hopefully they will.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      GM did that with the Camaro – can you say; “nearly 2-ton pig” (that the 1LE is nearly 2 seconds faster around VIR than the second year run of the LS7 Z06 and the Ford GT(40) smacks of a ringer). Not that it will seem to be an issue, but I’d rather see a Falcon based on the Mustang since it would be lighter. I’m not in the S2000 with a V8 crowd for a next-gen Mustang but I wouldn’t want to see it disastrously pinned to a full size car chassis like the F-body was.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    “You are most certainly joking aren’t you? The Territory is horrible off road”
    Matter of degree. The Explorer makes the Territory CUV look like a Unimog.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Not that I’m really checking, but off-hand (US market), I’d say the Explorer passes for a modern-day station wagon (an alternative to those who find minivans abhorrent).

      If the market isn’t there for a supremely capable off road vehicle when most people want an AWD station wagon with some ground clearence why build it?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      “Matter of degree. The Explorer makes the Territory CUV look like a Unimog.”

      Having been a design engineer on the Territory suspension, I think I can speak with some authority that you are mistaken in this comparison. The Territory is not a good off-road vehicle – but is particularly bad on sand. however it was never intended to be.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    “That said, I’ve always thought Ford should’ve kept JLR. They posess a global presence and appeal that Lincoln doesn’t and probably never will have.”
    You are right about Lincoln, very few outside NA have heard of it.Ford did a stupid thing when it dropped the “basket cases” of Jaguar , Land Rover and Volvo. Freed of Ford management, all three have blossomed.

  • avatar
    outback_ute

    A couple of points, as there is lots of stuff here I agree with.

    The large car segment is shrinking hugely at the moment. It’s not all about fuel use either, or the move to CUV’s (even compact ones) and pickups would not be happening. I think a lot of it is the traditional “don’t want to drive a boring car like my parents had”, similar to the backlash against station wagons and then minivans in the US. At the same time the small or C-segment cars are now effectively the same or better size-wise as medium cars of 15-20 years ago, with better performance and refinement, and meet most people’s actual needs. A large car that is a struggle to slot into crowded carparks becomes a hassle.

    Ford is far from innocent here, in its decline from having the best-selling car on the market 16 years ago. The AU Falcon came out a year after the VT Commodore aged the EL overnight, and it was an ill-considered design direction. This was repeated with the FG lagging behind the VE Commodore by 18 months.

    They had problems bringing the new LPG system to market, I gather a lot of it was outside Ford’s control but it lead to a gap in product availability of over a year – leading to not only a loss of sales but surely a change of customer buying habits due to the forced change. The diesel Territory was cancelled only to be revived later and coming to market perhaps 3 years after it needed to – thousands more lost sales.

    They have also withdrawn from quite a few different parts of the market such as the LWB luxury variant, a segment Ford created in 1967, and the station wagon – which ran the same basic rear inner structure for over 20 years. Both of these cars were caught in a spiral of smaller development investment leading to fewer sales, sure in the end there was only one decision to make, but Holden has shown there is an alternative and when you are at the numbers they sell now every bit helps.

    I also wonder how many people have been put off buying a Ford by what is nearing a decade of “Ford closing down any minute now” reporting. This has not been helped by a lack of clear demonstrable statements to the contrary for the most part, even now they are evasive about what the future holds. What conclusion must you draw in such a situation?

    Lastly Nissan has stopped building cars in Australia, but they do still have a manufacturing presence here in cast aluminium components.

  • avatar

    Whatever the decision of Ford that they will not produce car in Australia , It’s their choice. If they are not happy with their production in happy then Ford can produce their car in another country , but Australian market is very good opportunity for ford to be in Race of all car manufactures. For ford it will be difficult to supply cars on time if they will not produce cars in Australia .


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