The plant's workforce will grow by 50 per cent as a result of the upgrade which includes technical and environmental modifications aimed at modernising the facility. The decision also secures the jobs of the plant's existing 100 employees, and supports further employment through the automotive industry supply chain.
The deal will see the plant manufacture nearly one million brake components annually for Bosch Chassis Systems Australia, a supplier of automotive brake systems, in addition to casting brake components and engines for the locally-built Falcon and Territory.
Prior to today's announcement, the new production work was scheduled to head to China. Ford Australia president and CEO, Marin Burela saying today's announcement proves the company is leading local industry in discovering innovative new ways to bolster Australian automotive parts manufacturing.
"Our $20 million investment is great news for local jobs, great news for the environment, great news for the automotive sector and great news for Ford Australia," said Mr Burela."It keeps in Australia work that could otherwise have gone to Chinese manufacturers, which is a fantastic testament to the skills and productivity of our workforce,"It is vital that automotive manufacturing skills remain in Australia for the viability and strength of the entire sector, and we’re very pleased the Australian and Victorian Governments have recognised this through their support."
The upgrade investment comes in addition to the $230 million in sustainability initiatives for Falcon and Territory announced last year, part of the company's ten year, $1.8 billion investment in Australian operations.
"It’s no secret we were looking at a range of options for the Plant, including new ownership, however after careful consideration we have a growth plan that takes the Plant to full capacity and, importantly, creates new jobs at Ford," said Mr Burela.
The Geelong Casting Plant also produces Euro IV compliant 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine blocks (I6) for use in Ford Falcon and Ford Territory models.
As well, the plant is set to produce the new Territory diesel and petrol variants, supported by the Australian Government under the Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme program.
"Our I6 engine continues to be the cornerstone of our success in Australia and its evolution over the last 50 years is testament to the engineering ingenuity we have at Ford Australia," Mr Burela said."Its upgrade to Euro IV emissions standards proves that it is possible to enjoy the benefits of a large car along with improved fuel economy and reduced emissions."
Upgrades to the Geelong Casting Plant will take place over the next three years and will include environmental benefits such as:
- An electricity efficiency gain of more than 5100kW hours each day, obtained by reducing furnace idle times
- Increased use of recycled stormwater to 77,000 litres a week, or 3.7 million litres a year – around 20 per cent of all water used at the Plant will be from recycled stormwater, up from the current 5 per cent
- Increased use of recycled shredded metal, increasing from 32 per cent to 70 per cent – 67 tonnes of metal a day will be recycled, or almost 15,000 tonnes a year
- Sand reclamation to increase to almost 100 per cent by selling around 138 tonnes of surplus sand each week for cement production, reducing sand landfill requirements to zero
Mr Burela said the announcement demonstrates the on-going strength of Ford’s Australian operations.
"Ford Australia enjoyed a strong 2009 and we’re looking even stronger in 2010. In fact we’ve had to schedule overtime days for five of the last six months to keep up with customer demand and we’re currently selling almost 100 per cent of our vehicle supply each month," explained Mr Burela."Building on this growth, in coming months we’ll be unveiling a range of upgrades and innovations to celebrate Falcon’s 50th year, in addition to already announced enhancements such as Falcon EcoBoost and Falcon LPi."