Ford to wind up car production in Australia
The decision to shut its unprofitable plants will affect 1,200 workers, who are now faced with unemployment.
The announcement was made by Ford Australia boss Bob Graziano today, as he admitted that the company had lost A$600 million over the last five years.
He blamed the high cost of car manufacturing and increasingly challenging market conditions for the closures.
"Given the fragmented marketplace and the low model volumes that result, we decided that manufacturing locally is no longer viable," Graziano said during the announcement.
"Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia. The business case simply did not stack up, leading us to the conclusion manufacturing is not viable for Ford in Australia in the long-term."
The Australian market buys around 1.1 million new cars annually, and Ford has been facing increased competition from established competitors Toyota and General Motors.
Though it is to wind up local manufacture, Ford will remain in the Australian market as an importer and dealer – sparing a further 1,500 jobs.
Speaking on Australian radio, Paul Bastian, national president of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union described the news as a disaster for workers, and expressed concern that more jobs would be affected further up the supply chain.
Ford has had a long history in Australia, first manufacturing the Model T in 1925. Its presence has long been marked by an intense rivalry with the General Motors brand Holden, dividing Aussie car enthusiasts between the two camps.