Ford Falcon GT - blue - front three-quarter view

Ford hasn't said anything about it, but those who predict and those who do business with Ford in Australia expect The Blue Oval to cease production there as of 2016. The primary reason cited is the arrival of Euro 5 emissions standards on November 1, 2016, which are too stringent for the company's bread-and-butter Falcon sedan and Territory crossover to pass. It's been said that it would cost Ford millions to reengineer and retool, but sales of the Falcon sedan have been down for so long now that Ford announced earlier this month that 440 people would be let go from its two plants there.

In fact, Ford's Aussie position has been under threat for years. In 2007 the company announced it would close its Geelong engine plant at a cost of 600 jobs, only to reverse the decision a year later and keep the plant operating. Meanwhile, the value of the Australian dollar, cautious consumers and tariff reductions in the overall market have made imports tougher competition and depressed margins. It is the Falcon's troubles that are especially painful, though, causing a planned production cut of 25 percent in November.

In view of Ford's moves and the company's silence on its plans, suppliers have been rewriting their business plans for a future without Ford Australia, letting go of workers and going into receivership. Ford's departure would mean the loss of 3,000 jobs directly, with more to come in the supply chain and incidental industries. Also lost should this come to be: the legendary rivalry between the Falcon and General Motors' Holden Commodore, not to mention that between Ford Performance Vehicles (the FPV GT from 2008 is pictured above) and Holden Special Vehicles.

The front- and all-wheel-drive Ford Taurus range is expected to replace the rear-wheel-drive Falcon, and an as-yet-unnamed crossover would fill in for the Territory. Ford has had a manufacturing base Down Under since 1925 – leaving the country would mean only General Motors and Toyota remain as domestic producers.
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