Today was a sad day for the Australian automotive industry as the final Ford Falcon rolled down the assembly line at Ford's Broadmeadows plant in Broadmeadows, Victoria. The final vehicle was a Falcon XR6 finished in blue and being number 4,356,628 to roll off the assembly since Broadmeadows opened back in August 1959. The vehicle will join alongside a Falcon Ute (which ended production earlier this year) and Territory SUV in Ford's ownership.
Ford held a private ceremony with its 600 workers at the plant to mark the occasion.
"Today is an emotional day for all of us at Ford. We are saying goodbye to some of our proud and committed manufacturing employees and marking an end to 91 years of manufacturing in Australia," said Ford Australia CEO Graeme Whickman.
Whickman's comment hits home as many of the workers will not have a job after today. Ford will be keeping around 120 workers to decommission the plant. Ford also announced that 160 workers will be redeployed to new roles in design and enginnering. Ford says they are still committed to Australian market as they will still operate design and enginnering offices in the country.
“Ford will remain a major presence in Australia and we will carry forward the legacy of our manufacturing team by continuing to design and engineer world-class vehicles for Australia and the world for many years to come,” said Whickman.
The Falcon is Australia's longest running nameplate. First introduced back in June 1960, Ford built 3,568,689 Falcons - that includes sedans, wagons, utes, and panel vans. During its heyday, the Falcon would compete with the Holden Commodore as to who would top the sales sheet. But sales of both models have been declining over the past decade as buyers have been turning towards smaller vehicles and SUVs. The increasing costs of producing vehicles in Australia didn't help the cause.
2017 will see Holden and Toyota end their local production of vehicles in Australia.