Ford Australia

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Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited
Subsidiary of Ford Motor Company of the United States
Industry Automotive
Founded 1925
Founder Henry Ford
Headquarters Campbellfield, Victoria
Key people
Graeme Whickman CEO
Number of employees
Slogan Go Further
Ford factory in Norlane, Victoria, 1957.

The Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited, known by its trading name Ford Australia, is the Australian subsidiary of United States-based automaker Ford Motor Company, it was founded in Geelong, Victoria, in 1925 as an outpost of Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. At that time, Ford Canada was a separate company from Ford USA. Henry Ford having granted the manufacturing rights of Ford motor vehicles in the British Empire (later the Commonwealth), excepting the UK, to Canadian investors.

Ford Australia's first products were Model Ts assembled from complete knock-down (CKD) kits provided by Ford of Canada. Nevertheless, it is best known in more recent times for having produced the Falcon, originally a US model introduced in Australia in 1960, but adapted to Australian requirements and road conditions. Since the release of the XA model in 1972, Falcons have been fully Australian designed. It also produced a four-wheel-drive model called the Territory.

Ford Australia was the only Australian car manufacturer to design and manufacture its own unique high-volume engines.[2]

In May 2013 Ford Australia announced that it would stop making cars after 88 years due to uncompetetive manufacturing costs and lacklustre sales. The carmaker's annual financial report, for the previous year, showed a loss of A$141m dollars (£90m/$136m) after tax for the 2012 financial year. This followed a loss of A$290m in 2011 and a total loss of A$600m over the preceding five years, as a result, 1,200 staff would lose their jobs.[3]


Ford Model T parked outside the Geelong Library at its launch in Australia in 1925
The Ford Australia plant under construction in Geelong, 1926.

On 31 March 1925, Ford announced that Geelong, was to be the Australian headquarters. The first Australian-built Ford was a Model T that came off an improvised production line in a disused Geelong woolstore in June 1925, while work started on a factory in the nearby suburb of Norlane. In 1928 the factory switched to the Model A and was followed by the Ford V8 in 1932.[4]

In 1934 the company released a coupe utility based upon the Model A American Ford "Closed Cab Pickup Truck" that had been produced for 6 years from 1928. The local designer was Ford engineer Louis (Lewis) Bandt.[4][5] During the Depression, banks would not extend credit to farmers to purchase passenger cars- in the belief they were unnecessary luxuries. However, they would lend money for the purchase of "working" vehicles. The coupe utility fulfilled the need of farmers to have a workhorse which could also be used "to take the wife to church on Sunday and to the market on Monday".

In 1956 the company bought a large tract of land in the northern Melbourne suburb of Campbellfield, and in July 1961 announced that the new Melbourne factory would become the company headquarters.[4]

On 23 May 2013, Ford announced that its factories in Geelong and Campbellfield would be closed down in October 2016.[6] Approximately 1,200 employees are expected to be made redundant.[7]

Ford Australia is one of Ford's five product development centres globally, and will continue to design and develop cars and trucks for the Asia/Pacific region after the closure of tne manufacturing arm.


Stamping plant at Geelong

Ford has two main factories, both in Victoria: located in the Geelong suburb of Norlane and the northern Melbourne suburb of Campbellfield. The Ford Discovery Centre, a museum of the history of the Ford Motor Company in Australia was also located in Geelong, but now has been closed, the site is now been occupied by Deakin University.

Ford has also designated as one of five (worldwide) full service Regional Product Development Centre, specifically for the Asia Pacific and African regions. Products launched so far include the Ford Ikon and Fiesta in India and the Ford Bantam ute and Ikon (a sedan version of the Fiesta) in South Africa, and has also developed the new Ranger.[8]

Models produced[edit]

Ford Australia started by assembling Model Ts. As Ford introduced new models, these were assembled in Australia. During World War II, Ford Australia ceased producing cars to commence military production to support the war effort.

After World War II, Ford recommenced assembly of imported Ford models. Initially, they assembled the UK sourced Pilot, then a range of British cars, including the Prefect, Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac. Ford also assembled the Canadian Ford V8.


The Laser was produced in Ford's plant at Homebush in Sydney, from 1981 until September 1994 when the plant closed, after which they were fully imported from Japan. The Laser was replaced by the European Ford Focus in 2002. It is currently offered in sedan and hatchback variants with a 2.0L engine, which is one of the market leaders in sales. The Fiesta, a global Ford product, has also been offered since 2004.


Mid-size cars assembled in Australia included the Ford Anglia, Escort and Cortina from the UK. These were adapted for the Australian market: for example, from 1972, the Cortina was available with the option of either a 3.3-litre or 4.1-litre six-cylinder engine, and the Escort could be offered across the range with the Cortina's 2.0-litre motor. In 1977, lack of capacity meant that the Cortina wagon was in fact assembled in Renault's (now long since closed) Australian factory in Heidelberg, Victoria.

The Cortina's replacement, the Mazda 626-based Telstar, was initially assembled in Australia. In 1989 the Telstar sedan was replaced by the locally assembled Ford Corsair which was basically a rebadged Nissan Pintara. When Nissan shut down its Australian manufacturing operations in 1992 the Telstar nameplate was reintroduced, and as before it was a rebadged and respecced Mazda 626. In 1995 the Telstar was dropped in favour of the Mondeo, imported from Belgium.

Ford Australia dropped the Mondeo in 2001, arguing at the time that the segment of the market in which it competed was in decline, but 2007, it announced that it would introduce the new Mk IV model in Australia.[9]

Large family car[edit]

The North American Ford Falcon was assembled in Australia in 1960. The Australian and American product lines separated during the mid-1960s when the US Ford product proved inconsistent with Australian desires and requirements; In fact the initial Falcon required extensive re-engineering beyond standard right hand drive adaptation for Australian conditions. Since its initial offerings the Falcon has proven to be Ford Australia's most popular car.

Ford has manufactured over three million units since 1960, and has topped the sales charts on many occasions. Currently the Falcon lineup is offered in sedan and utility body styles, however in the past panel vans, station wagons, and hardtops were offered. Falcons have dominated the ranks of taxis in Australia and New Zealand, along with sister car, the Ford Fairlane, and have been widely used as police cars, especially in performance variants.

Production of the Falcon will cease with the closure of the Campbellfield and Geelong plants sometime between now and October 2016.[6]


Ford Territory

Since 2004, the Ford Territory has been built on the same production line as the Falcon. The Territory (technically a crossover) has regularly been the most popular SUV in Australia since its release.[10]

Current passenger cars[edit]

(As of June 2014)

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Ford Focus
  3. Ford Mondeo
  4. Ford Kuga
  5. Ford EcoSport
  6. Ford Territory
  7. Ford Falcon

Current commercial vehicles[edit]

  1. Ford Transit
  2. Ford Falcon Ute
  3. Ford Ranger


External links[edit]