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 Richmond, Melbourne (Head Office)
Campbellfield, Melbourne (Asia Pacific Engineering Centre)
Key people
Graeme Whickman CEO
Number of employees
1300[1]
Website [1]
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.

History[edit]

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 wool storage warehouse 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.[2]

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.[2][3] 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.[2]

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. It's expected to retain about 1300 workers in Australia. [4]

End of Australian production[edit]

On 23 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.[5]

Ford had 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.

Between 1972 to 2016, Ford Falcons have been fully Australian designed. It also produced a four-wheel-drive model called the Territory Which also ceased production 2016. Production of the Falcon will cease with the closure of the Broadmeadows (Campbellfield) and Geelong engine and panel stamping plants. The Geelong factory produced its last Australian-made straight-six and V8 engines on 26 September 2016. Assembly at Broadmeadows ceased on 7 October 2016.

Sites[edit]

Stamping plant at Geelong (closed 2016)

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.[6]

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.

Hatchback[edit]

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[edit]

Mid-size cars assembled in Australia included the Ford Anglia, Capri, 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 in 2007, it announced that it would introduce the new Mk IV model in Australia.[7]

Large car[edit]

Ford Falcon (1960–2016)

The Ford Falcon was manufactured in Australia according to its North American design, with the first model rolling off the production line at Ford's Broadmeadows plant on June 28, 1960. It differed little from the American design apart from conversion to right hand drive, and the Falcon soon proved unable to cope on harsh Australian roads, sparking a massive effort to introduce running engineering changes to improve its reliability. By the mid-1960s, the car was substantially different to its North American cousin and was offered in sedan, wagon, coupe, utility and panel van styles.

Production of the North American Falcon, upon which the Falcon was now loosely based, ended in 1970, forcing Australia to go it alone on design. The first true all-Australian Ford Falcon arrived with the XA model in June 1972.

The Falcon had been an Australian automotive icon for most of its 56 years in production, playing a prominent part in Australian life, popular culture and motor racing. Falcons have served as taxis, police cars, family runabouts, transport for tradespeople and have been the winning car many times in the Australian Touring Car Championship and at the annual Bathurst 1000 touring car race, where the Falcon's reputation for engineering excellence was cemented by the early 1970s through the Falcon GT and GTHO muscle car variants.

Ford had manufactured more than four million units since 1960, and has topped the sales charts on many occasions. Until 2016, the Falcon line-up was offered in sedan and utility body styles, however in the past panel vans, station wagons, and hardtops were offered. Falcons had dominated the ranks of taxis in Australia and New Zealand, along with sister car, the Ford Fairlane. Performance variants of the Falcon have been used extensively for pursuit work for many years.

SUV[edit]

Ford Territory (2004–2016)

Since 2004, the Ford Territory had been built on the same production line as the Falcon. The Territory (technically a crossover) had regularly been the most popular SUV in Australia since its release.[8]

Current vehicle range[edit]

(As of October 2016)

Small Cars[edit]

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Ford Fiesta ST
  3. Ford Focus
  4. Ford Focus ST
  5. Ford Focus RS

Family Cars[edit]

  1. Ford Mondeo

Performance Cars[edit]

  1. Ford Mustang
  2. Ford Fiesta ST
  3. Ford Focus ST
  4. Ford Focus RS

Family SUVs[edit]

  1. Ford EcoSport
  2. Ford Escape

Large SUVs[edit]

  1. Ford Everest

Current commercial vehicles[edit]

  1. Ford Transit
  2. Ford Transit Custom
  3. Ford Ranger

Former vehicle range in production[edit]

Family Cars[edit]

  1. Ford Falcon (1960-2016)

Performance Cars[edit]

  1. Ford Falcon XR6
  1. Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo
  1. Ford Falcon XR8

Family SUVs[edit]

  1. Ford Territory (2004-2016)

Commercial vehicles[edit]

  1. Ford Falcon Ute (1961–2016)

References[edit]

External links[edit]