Employees and union representatives were informed this morning by the car maker of its plans to cut production at the Broadmeadows vehicle assembly and Geelong engine plants by about one-third, forcing roughly one-quarter of the manufacturing workforce out of employment within months.
The latest round of job cuts comes less than nine months after Ford confirmed it would cease local production in October 2016 due to the increasingly challenging economic conditions of the Australian market and rapidly declining sales of its homegrown vehicles.
Ford Australia public affairs director Wes Sherwood today admitted the company could not rule out further job cuts or changes to its planned exit date, which is still more than two and a half years away.
“It’s our intent to manufacture these vehicles through 2016,” Sherwood told ABC News.
“[But] we’ve always said we will constantly monitor the operations, and if there are major disruptions we may need to go and re-evaluate that plan.”
Ford sold just 461 Falcon sedans in January – the lowest monthly sales figure in the iconic nameplate’s 64-year history – representing a savage 40.7 per cent drop compared with January 2013.
Territory sales also tanked last month, tumbling 41.3 per cent to 681 units, while Falcon Ute sales fell 23.1 per cent to 237, meaning total sales of Ford’s locally produced vehicles tallied just 1379.
Despite the stumbling sales, Ford insists it is committed to launching updated versions of the Falcon and Territory before the end of this year, and says those plans remain on track.
The news is the latest blow for the Australian automotive manufacturing industry, coming just two months after rival Holden confirmed its plans to wind up its vehicle and engine production operations in 2017.
Toyota Australia will announce in the coming months whether it will build the next-generation Camry locally from 2017/2018 or join Ford and Holden in departing the local manufacturing industry.