Falcon Name Bites the Dust as Ford Pulls Out Down Under
It’s a sad day in Australia as Ford Motor Company closes the door on 91 years of domestic vehicle production.
Some 600 Ford employees are now out of work after the automaker shut down factories in Melbourne and Geelong. This marks not just the end of Australian Ford production, but the death of a long-running nameplate.
The last vehicle to roll off the country’s assembly lines was a six-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive Ford Falcon XR6. That nameplate, born in the U.S. in 1960 (thanks to Henry Ford II’s “whiz kids”), stayed alive in Australia after bowing out of the U.S. market in 1970. Ford produced a total of 3.5 million Falcons, including the 1973 XB GT coupe famously driven by Mel Gibson in The Road Warrior.
The last production vehicle will live out its days in the Ford Australia museum.
While the situation is grim, the closures were a long time coming. In July, Ford of Australia ended production of the iconic Falcon Ute, a body style the country’s citizens invented (by demanding it) in 1934. That leaves Toyota and GM subsidiary Holden as the only remaining vehicle manufacturers, and both have similarly pledged to leave the country.
The common refrain: production costs are too high, and the country is too far away from high-volume markets.
Not surprisingly, Australia’s automotive industry remains a hot-button political issue within its own borders. Thousands of jobs could be lost and the country’s many suppliers could fold when the remaining automakers leave — 40,000, according to government estimates.
Though it no longer makes cars, the Blue Oval’s presence will continue to sell and service imported vehicles. Development and design work on the company’s global vehicles continues in Australia, as well.
Jeff S on Oct 09, 2016
I doubt very much that Ford will not make vehicles in the US. Ford is going more to global platforms except the F series trucks and even those could eventually become global. I do see more of the manufacturers using cheaper labor markets for their subcompact and compact vehicles.
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