After some 90 years, Ford will stop manufacturing cars in Australia in 2016, closing two plants in the country for good. The move comes on the heels of $581 million in losses over the past three years in Australia, a market where Ford manufacturers a handful of specific vehicles sold only in that country.
Ford of Australia builds a line of rear-wheel drive vehicles which are only sold there, the Falcon, Falcon UTE and Territory SUV. The cars have long been enthusiast candy for those around the world as well as those in Australia. Unfortunately sales of them in Australia are not what they once used to be.
The Falcon and its platform derivatives also use some engines manufactured only in Australia, such as its 4.0 liter inline six which comes in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions. Additionally, it is available with their own version of the 5.0 liter Coyote V8.
Ford has increasingly imported more and more of their full product line for sales in Australia, which includes cars made in Asia and Europe. The economics of building a single line of cars there for just that country no longer makes sense.
“All of us at Ford remain committed to our long history of serving Australian customers with the very best vehicles that deliver cutting-edge technology at an affordable cost,” said Bob Graziano, president and CEO of Ford Australia, in a statement. “Unfortunately, due to challenging market conditions we are unable to do that longer-term while continuing to manufacture locally.”
According to a report in the Detroit News, Ford said it evaluated “all viable alternatives,” but that “given the fragmented marketplace and the low model volumes that result, we decided that manufacturing locally is no longer viable,” Graziano said.
Ending manufacturing in Australia means likely the end of the Ford Falcon and Falcon Ute that Australians and Americans alike have loved. With the coming launch of the 2015 Mustang which is to have an all new rear-wheel drive platform, this makes it the last such platform in Ford’s stable.
While the Mustang is said to be a world car that will be exported to other markets, this move to end production in Australia means there will be no more Falcon to hope for someday in America. It does however make more of a business case for a sedan spin-off from the new Mustang platform that can be sold globally.