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by Tim Beissmann

Ford Australia insists tomorrow’s visit from Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane will not impact its decision to cease local production within three years.

Macfarlane revealed his desire to convince Ford to change its mind on its car-making future in Australia while on a tour of Holden’s vehicle assembly plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, last week.

Macfarlane ambitiously declared he would like to see Australian vehicle manufacturing continue for the next 100 years, and said he planned to talk with Ford Australia to see if anything could be done to make it reverse its decision.

“I’d like to think I can do something with Ford,” Macfarlane told reporters.

“I want to have another discussion with the Ford people. I’m going to see what I can do over there.”

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But Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Sinead Phipps said there would be no change in the company’s position to wind down its local manufacturing operations.

“Our plans haven’t changed and we don’t intend for them to change,” Phipps said.

“We’re still proceeding with the October 2016 closure date, and we’ve got no plans to change that.”

Phipps said Macfarlane’s visit on Wednesday afternoon would focus on the car maker’s research and development facility in Broadmeadows, Victoria – which she described as a “major factor of our post-2016 footprint in Australia” – as well as formal discussions with senior Ford Australia officials.

“He’s doing a tour of the R&D centre, the design studio particularly, but there will be some business meetings and general discussion time with Bob and others as well,” she said.

“We’ve had a good relationship with Minister Macfarlane when he was in this position a number of years ago and we look forward to reinvigorating that relationship and showing him all the good things that our R&D team are working on.”

Ford announced its decision in May to cease local vehicle production no later than October 2016, signalling the loss of 1200 Victorian jobs and the death of the Australian-made Falcon and Territory products.




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