Today, Ford production in Australia has officially come to an end with the closure of the automaker’s Broadmeadows Assembly Plant in Campbellfield, in the state of Victoria.
The closure puts an end to a 91-year-long history of Australian production; Ford became the first major automaker to build vehicles there back in 1925. Recent years have seen Ford Australia and its GM-owned Australian rival, Holden, fail to return a profit owing to high wages and a lack of demand, according to Motor Authority. GM is also ceasing its manufacturing operations in Australia, putting an end to Holden Cruze production today, although the Commodore will continue to be built for another year.
Ford Australia has built more than 5.9 million vehicles in total since production started in 1925, a staggering 3.8 million of which have been Ford Falcons.
“Today is an emotional day for all of us at Ford,” said Ford Australia CEO Graeme Whickman in a prepared statement. “We are saying goodbye to some of our proud and committed manufacturing employees and marking an end to 91 years of manufacturing in Australia. But, as the country’s largest automotive investor and soon employer, we have been able to transfer many employees from our plants to our design, engineering and testing facilities across Victoria.”
While the company says goodbye to a large number of hourly workers, about 1,100 designers and engineers – including 160 former plant workers – will be kept on staff to work on future cars, according to Australian website News.com.au.
As Ford, Holden, and even Toyota cease manufacturing operations in Australia, many more people could lose their jobs in the country as suppliers and other related businesses are also shuttered. Motor Authority reports that as many as 15,000 to 20,000 people could lose their jobs in the coming years as a direct result.