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Postby roadwarriormfp » Wed May 22, 2013 11:34 pm

Ford closure sends shockwave through manufacturing industry

Updated 46 minutes ago
Related Story: 1,200 jobs to go as Ford closes Australian plants
Related Story: Explainer: car manufacturing a shrinking industry
Map: Australia

Ford's decision to close its Australian plants is sending shockwaves through the manufacturing industry, with fears the initial 1,200 job losses could lead to more retrenchments in the car parts supply industry.

Ford Australia president Bob Graziano today announced the car-maker would shut its Broadmeadows and Geelong plants in October 2016, bringing an end to nearly 100 years of car-making history in Australia and spelling the end of the iconic Ford Falcon.
Key points

Ford to close plants in 2016
More than 1,000 jobs to go, more at risk
Government promises support for sacked staff

He said Ford had "left no stone unturned" in the attempt to make a profit but said rising costs and cumulative five-year losses of $600 million had forced the company's hand.

Now there are fears that Ford will take other jobs down with it, with job losses among companies which manufacture spare parts expected to be substantial.
Ford in Australia: timeline

Opened in 1926 after Ford Australia was founded in Geelong in 1925
Produces six-cylinder engines for Falcon and Territory models
510 employees will lose jobs


Assembly plant opened in 1959
Produces Falcon, Territory and Performance vehicles
650 employees will lose jobs

Read a full timeline of Ford's history in Australia

Lawyer Evan Stents specialises in the automotive industry and says around 150 companies which depend on Ford may be affected.

"For every one manufacturing job at Ford, there's probably another four jobs that are threatened in the parts industry," he said.

"There's approximately 150 or so companies that feed into Ford Australia and its manufacturing operations.

"So there are significant knock-on effects in the wider parts industry and that's really where we're going to see a lot of pain felt."

Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers chief executive Richard Reilly says the Ford shutdown spells "devastating news for the automotive component sector".

"It's a major blow to our industry, it's a major blow to manufacturing in general," he told The World Today from Detroit.

"The automotive industry generates a lot of wealth for our country, a lot of technology and a lot of capability, and to see Ford announcing their cessation of manufacturing this morning is really very sad news.

"Certainly a number of members are heavily exposed to Ford as their major customer ... [and] those companies will no doubt experience great difficulty.

"Some will certainly go out of business and that will have further impacts on employment for those companies."

He said some local companies would be able to supply parts for overseas Ford operations, but added that "Ford ceasing manufacture in Australia just makes it that much more difficult to do."
Have your say: How will the Ford plants closure affect you?

Communities facing heavy job losses

In Victoria, where the once-strong manufacturing sector is already struggling, the Ford closure is a body blow.

Speaking outside Ford's head office in Broadmeadows, local Labor MP Frank Maguire said he was devastated that a company which had been part of the community for 50 years was so dramatically cutting jobs.

"The announcement today means that there'll be 650 jobs lost from Ford in Broadmeadows. That will gut this community," he said.

"The flow-on effects are that probably the same number at least again will be lost. So it will be more than 1,300 jobs will be lost from this community.
End of the road for the Falcon

Ford's decision to shut its manufacturing plants decision means the end of the road for the Ford Falcon, a mainstay of the Australian automotive scene since 1960.
Here's a selection of your Ford Falcon photos.

"This will have a devastating effect on the families and on the people who have dedicated their lives and their careers to, and their hard work, their sweat, their muscle, to actually help deliver these cars."

As Ford's news conference ended, workers slowly made their way out to speak to the media. Among them was one man who had worked at the plant for all his life.

"Ford is my first job. I've been with Ford for 36 years. I started here as an 18-year-old.

"[It is] pretty much a shock for everybody. I think it should be a shock for all the Australian public."

While today's announcement is bad news for the community at Broadmeadows, it is even worse for Geelong.

The decision will be a blow to federal Labor, which is clinging to seats around Geelong, including its most marginal seat in the country.

Speaking to ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine, Geelong mayor Keith Fagg said there were no easy answers to how those laid off would find work.

"Geelong has a long history of making things and we don't want to lose those skills," he said.

"We need to look at new forms of manufacturing, smarter forms of manufacturing.

"There is a lot of research going on at Deakin around carbon fibre. I don't pretend that this is going to be an easy time for Geelong, but we need to work constructively for the future."
Operations go on for Holden and Toyota

Ford's rival Holden has reiterated its commitment to making cars in Australia.

The company's chairman, Mike Devereux, described the Ford closures as a reminder of the challenges facing Australian manufacturers and called on federal and state governments to take "urgent action" to ensure the viability of the car industry.

Toyota said it was saddened to learn of Ford Australia's decision but said it intended to maintain its operations in Australia.
The Drum

Corporate welfare for a favoured few, including Australia's car manufacturers, can not be justified, argues Simon Cowan.

Mr Reilly said Ford Australia's weakness had been its lack of an export program and said he did not expect Holden or Toyota to be forced to follow suit.

"I think Ford is a different scenario to Toyota and Holden," he said.

"In particular, access to global markets - both Toyota and General Motors Holden have export programs, perhaps a wider spread of vehicles on offer, as well as producing new models.

"So no, I don't think you can link at this stage Toyota and Holden with Ford."

The unions are remaining tight-lipped for the time being on what approach they are going to take.

With job closures not due until 2016, there is plenty of time to negotiate, though Ford this morning made clear there was not much scope for redeployment for those 1,200 workers laid off.

Australian Workers Union spokesman Leigh Diehm said he was not expecting the news.

"Unemployment in this state is at a high and they are very concerned about their futures concerned and where to from here," he said.

"We will be sitting down with Ford this afternoon working our way through and talking to our members on the two sites over the coming months and years."
Government highly invested in car industry

Car industry analysts have been talking about Ford shutting up shop since mid last year amid pressure from the high dollar and high wage costs, compared with other countries.

Before the global financial crisis, the Australian car industry was responsible for $5.8 billion in exports. By 2011, it had dropped to $3.3 billion.
Car sales in Australia, April 2013
Car No. cars sold
1. Toyota Corolla 3,504
2. Toyota Hilux 2,932
3. Mazda 3 2,842
4. Holden Cruze 2,290
5. Hyundai i30 2,150
6. Nissan Navara 1,953
7. Ford Ranger 1,683
8. Ford Focus 1,670
9. Holden Captiva 1,620
10. Toyota Camry 1,617
Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

The Federal Government is heavily invested in the industry; the new car plan under prime minister Kevin Rudd set aside $5.4 billion for the sector 2008 to 2021.

Ford says it will not be giving back any government money it has received.

Australian Industry Group (AiGroup) chief executive Innes Willox believes government subsidies should continue for the industry despite Ford's closure.

"As we have said, the Australian auto industry is worth fighting for, and while this announcement is a major blow for all concerned, we still have competitive auto makers and parts manufacturers in Australia who are adapting and building export markets," he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said today's announcement was disappointing news and that her thoughts were with the Ford workers and their families.

She has announced a structural fund of almost $40 million will be set up to help the economic development and diversification of the Geelong and north Melbourne regions.

The Federal Government will tip in $30 million, Victoria will contribute $9 million.

"And today I call on Ford to make a substantial contribution to this fund as well," she said.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said it was a "black day" for manufacturing in Australia.

He said the Coalition supported assistance for the car industry but said the Government did not have the right policies in place.
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Postby Peter Barton » Wed May 29, 2013 3:28 am

From The Age, Melbourne, Tuesday May 28th

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Postby roadwarriormfp » Fri May 31, 2013 3:18 am

Wow... good find Pete.

Must be a fan to be able to put the two together.

Sad day indeed and barely a murmour from aussie ford "fans."
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