Ford Australia has today announced that it will cut up to 350 jobs, or 15 per cent of its Australian manufacturing workforce from mid-November. The company blames a slump in large car sales for the downgrade.
Those affected will include workers from both the Geelong and Broadmeadows plants. However Ford spokeswoman Sinead McAlary said job losses would be voluntary and evenly split between the two plants.
Ford Australia believes the increasingly volatile price of petrol, plus economic factors such as interest rates have changed Australian’s desire for large cars.
The 350 jobs would result in a production slow down of about 20 to 25 per cent. Essentially this means instead of 52 Falcons and Territorys produced per hour, that number will be reduced to 40 units. The Blue Oval will now produce only 285 cars per day, as oppose to the current 365.
The Territory has seen a noticeable slow down with only 1028 of the SUVs sold last month, compared to 1555 in July 2007. Meanwhile Ford sold 3448 new FG Falcons last month, an increase of only 262 cars over the same month last year.
“We expect the total industry to soften for the second half of this year, It started in July and we anticipate that we’ll see more of these actions across the industry for the rest of this year.” McAlary said.
This is the second announcement of job losses by Ford, following the earlier announcement that 600 jobs would be lost when local six-cylinder engine production ends in 2010.
Ford’s announcement comes amid last week’s Government report into the Australian car manufacturing industry, which called for a reduction in import tariffs from 10 per cent to 5 per cent by 2010, as well as a move towards more environmentally friendly cars.
The report also suggested the federal government should bring forward its $500 million green car fund to start in 2009.
The good news however, is that Ford will hire at least an additional 300 staff when the company starts local production of the Ford Focus in 2011. Production is expected to increase by roughly 40,000/pa from 2011.