Ford Motor Company will invest $500 million on design and engineering in the country of Australia, according to News Corp Australia – consolation for the closure of its Broadmeadows and Geelong production plants earlier in the year, which signified an end to Ford’s manufacturing operations there.
Ford CEO Mark Fields visited Australia recently to meet with the Australian government and ensure that the country could supply enough design and engineering talent to meet company demand. He said that Australia would hold one of just three major Ford design and engineering hubs in the world.
Of the $500 million announced, $50 million will be spent expanding Ford’s Broadmeadows campus, reports News Corps, including the addition of a new design studio. The other $450 million will go toward research and development projects, securing the jobs of Ford’s 1,500 Australian employees.
That workforce is large enough to make Ford the biggest automotive employer in the country after Toyota and General Motors’ Holden brand shutter their respective manufacturing plants late in 2017. Asked why Australia was selected as an integral part of the automaker’s product development plans, Fields said “it’s crucial to us globally… and our investment shows we want Australia to shoulder a bigger part of our product development efforts around the world.”
News Corp Australia says that the investment lends credibility to reports that Australia will continue to be responsible for the mid-size Ford Ranger pickup as it enters its next generation and reportedly returns to the US market. Alongside the new Ranger, a brand-new Ford Bronco SUV built on the same platform is also expected to bow.