Ford Motor Company plans to shut its Australian manufacturing plants by October 2016, signalling the end of the iconic Ford Falcon.
Established in 1925, the company has enjoyed cult status in Australia and created a strong racing rivalry with General Motors subsidiary Holden.
Ford president Bob Graziano blamed rising costs and continued losses over the last five years which are believed to have equated to $600m AUD (£383m).
“Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia,” Mr Graziano said. “The business case simply did not stack up, leading us to the conclusion [that] manufacturing is not viable for Ford in Australia in the long-term.”
Ford Motor Company of Australia will retire the iconic Ford Falcon brand when it ceases production at the Broadmeadows and Geelong plants.
The plant closures are expected to result in the loss of around 1,200 jobs. Ford says it will continue to employ more than 1,500 people in Australia in research and development and dealerships after 2016 and will continue to import its vehicles into Australia.
Victoria’s State Premier Denis Napthine said he met with Ford officials yesterday, and unions say they were told the news this morning.
The Australian Manufacturers Workers Union (AMWU) said it feared more jobs would be lost as the knock-on effect from the plant closures flowed on into the wider auto parts industry.