October 7, 2016
The last day for the Ford Australia factory at Broadmeadows will be a deeply personal one for members of the Blue Oval family.
It will be the same for the workers at the Ford facilities in Geelong, a city that has relied for generations on its carmaking abilities. But don’t expect a media frenzy, a flag-waving visit by senior politicians or a media circus on October 7.
“It’s going to be a private event for the manufacturing employees. They are going to decide how they want that activity to go.
“It’s their event,” says Ford Australia spokesman, Wes Sherwood.
He says the day the Falcon dies will not be the end of the story or the celebrations.
“We absolutely realise that people will want to see and farewell the final vehicles. For our most loyal fans we’re planning something soon after October 7.
“We’re definitely going to have a nod to our rich history, and also show that we have a rich future in Australia.”
The people most affected by the shutdown are the 800 staff involved at manufacturing at Broadmeadows and the 300 who are also part of the car making activities at Geelong.
Another group, around 180, is being redeployed from manufacturing to other Ford Australia activities including the research and development work at Broadmeadows on future regional and global products. What about the Bathurst weekend? “We recognise that the Falcon will still be racing. The teams are passionate Ford folks and we’ve had great relationships with them, so we wish them nothing but the best. We’re proud that they are still tracking our vehicles and that doesn’t end,” Sherwood says.
It appears to be purely coincidental that the last Falcon rolls off the production line while the Bathurst 1000 meeting is in progress. There’s no obvious strategic reason for Ford Australia choosing Great Race weekend for the closure, instead the clash speaks volumes for the company’s interest – or lack thereof – in happenings on Mount Panorama.