Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] in 1925 became the first major automaker to start car production in Australia.
On Friday, the Blue Oval shut its Australian car plant, located North of Melbourne, ending production of the Falcon range and its Territory SUV variant. The automaker previously shut a nearby engine plant.
Ford’s arch rival in Australia, Holden, also ended production of its version of the previous-generation Chevrolet Cruze on Friday. The automaker is still producing the Commodore and its variants but will eventually shut its plant in late 2017.
Australia’s other major manufacturer, Toyota, which produces the Camry there, will shut its plant in 2018.
2016 Ford Falcon XR Sprint
Ford and Holden’s Australian production have been unprofitable in recent years, due to a lack of demand and high wages. Toyota has benefited from an export program for its Aussie-built Camrys, but has said its supply chain requires at least one of the other automakers to be present to be viable.
Ford doesn’t have a direct replacement for the Falcon, though it’s importing the Edge and Everest SUVs to replace the Territory. Holden, meanwhile, will import a new Commodore, expected to be twinned with the next Opel Insignia and Buick Regal. Sadly, it means the end of the Aussie “ute,” as there will be no replacement for the Falcon and Commodore Utes.
Ford plans to keep the final Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory, which it will store in a museum and present at select events. The final saleable versions will be auctioned to help raise funds for education programs at schools close to the plant. Around 3.4 million Falcons have been built since production started in 1960.
Ford, Holden and Toyota have been shedding their workforce in the lead up to the end of production. Including numerous supplier firms and related business that are also expected to disappear, it’s estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 people could end up losing their job in the coming years.