26 May 2013

Ford Leaves Australian Car Making Behind

Ford Falcon

Australia is a relatively small car market, which tries to have a car making industry. Volume is the name of the manufacturing game today, and that is the problem in Australia - trying to make enough cars for the industry to be viable. Toyota and GM got around this by sending cars to the Middle East, but Ford for some reason couldn't establish an export programme beyond New Zealand. Therefore it has announced the decision to pull out of car making in Australia in 2016.

It's not that the Australian government hasn't tried. It has poured billions of dollars into propping up the industry, yet Ford was losing money anyway. Ford has fallen to a level of car production that makes you realise closure was merely being put off by government assistance. You can see this in the chart below which shows car production in five year increments from 1990, and includes light utility vehicles. The average figure is based on the years shown:

Yr Toyota Holden Ford Mitsub Nissan Total

90 - 154,800 130,000 33,700 57,900 376,400

95 63,200 114,300 110,300 39,700 - 327,500

00 92,300 130,500 85,800 36,300 - 344,900

05 109,200 153,000 108,200 18,700 - 389,100

10 119,900 64,200 56,000 - - 240,100

11 93,600 88,000 37,800 - - 219,400

Avg 95,640 117,467 88,017 32,100 57,900 316,233

Ford was the first car maker 'down under' about 90 years ago. Then 50 Years ago came the Falcon, a large car that was popular in a big country. More Australians live in cities now and are preferring smaller cars and SUVs, the big car falling out of favour. They currently make the Falcon and Territory SUV.

It's big news for Australia, but in the bigger scheme of things part of the industry's evolution. Will Toyota and Holden follow? Toyota are upbeat about staying but Holden have suggested more financial assistance would be helpful.

Ford Territory

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