Ford’s new home
of the Commodore and Falcon continue to fall through the early months of 2015, triggering renewed talk, in Ford’s case, of an early shutdown of the factory at Broadmeadows.
Ford insiders now reveal the lack of advertising for the Falcon is because the most-popular model, the XR8, is now effectively a sellout through to the end of local production.
Ford is believed to have capped XR8 production at 1500 cars, based on the number of engines it has allocated to the FG X runout program. It is unwilling to commit to extra supplies in case demand drops even further.
Potential buyers are also finding it hard to get production slots for Falcon utes and the Territory. This is because the production line is now running at a greatly reduced speed, with output restricted accordingly.
February sales totals, reported by VFacts, show only 2515 Commodores were delivered for the month and the dismal total for the Falcon, including both sedans and utes, is down to only 728 cars.
Those numbers compare with 781 Falcons and 2777 Commodores in February, 2014.
The year-to-date totals look no better, showing Holden numbers fell from 5141 to 4301 from 2014 to 2015 and Ford’s total dropped from 1479 to just 1272 cars. The
future of Ford is an uptown move away from Broadmeadows.
It is about to open a new sales and marketing base close to the central business district, leaving the existing office block alongside the Falcon factory for use by its engineering team.
The new-look Ford sales company will be based in Richmond, where 200 staff will be located in Victoria Gardens at an office scheduled to open by the middle of the year.
Back at Broadmeadows, Ford Australia says its Asia-Pacific engineering ‘campus’ will not be affected by the production shutdown. It currently employs around 1500 engineers and technicians, who mostly work on offshore projects similar to the Ranger ute which was designed and developed in Australia but is built in Thailand and sold throughout Asia.
Ford also says its advanced engineering operations housed at Geelong and Lara will not be affected.
“The transformation of Ford’s head office into the Asia-Pacific Engineering Centre will signal that we will be the only automotive company that can fully develop vehicles in Australia,” says Bob Graziano, the American president of Ford Australia who has extended his tour of duty until the final Falcon rolls off the local assembly line.
“The national sales company in Victoria Gardens, leveraging our outstanding production lineup, will focus on delivering Australia’s best automotive customer experience.”