After years of uncertainty, Ford has finally announced its intention to close its Australian manufacturing plants by the end of 2016. This will leave Holden and Toyota as the only remaining brands producing locally-made cars, until they, too, close their doors in 2017. While most media attention so far has focused on the impacts of these factory closures on retrenched workers, Ford fans will start to see some changes as well. So, as a Ford driver, what do the company's factory closures mean for you?
1. Your favourite model may have a new name
From late 2016, all Ford cars sold in Australia will have been manufactured overseas, and as a result, car buyers may find themselves sitting in a similar-looking car with a different name. The locally-made Ford Territory, for example, is set to be rebranded as the 'Ford Edge', built in the company's Oakville, Canada, manufacturing plant. The two cars have a similar design, with the biggest difference being the Territory's 140mm longer body, so car buyers should still be able to find a new vehicle equivalent to their time-honoured favourites.
2. Spare parts may take longer to arrive
Ford plans to stockpile its production of spare parts prior to its factory closures, so consumers are unlikely to see any immediate changes to the availability of spare parts for their vehicles. However, once these stocks run out, Ford car parts will be imported from overseas, so expect spare parts to take longer to arrive at your service centre if they are out of stock. However, Ford does have contingencies in place to reduce the chances of this happening. The company will continue to operate its Eagle Farm, Queensland, parts distribution centre, which holds 28,500 product lines.
3. Cheaper cars and more choice
Ford's reasoning for closing its Australian factory doors was that cars can be made at a fraction of the price in Asia and Europe, and consumers are set to reap the benefits of the company's cost savings. Ford's decision to produce similar cars overseas and import them instead of manufacturing them locally is set to drive down prices for Australian car buyers from 2017 onwards.
In addition, Ford has already announced that it will boost its line-up of models offered in the Australian market by 30% in 2017, giving consumers more choice between vehicle types. Some of the new models set to be offered include the Ford EcoSport, a compact SUV designed for city-dwellers with fuel efficiency in mind, and the Ford Everest, a full-sized SUV with a massive 3.2-litre engine.
While Ford's decision to cease its Australian manufacturing operations may be bad news for automotive industry workers, Australian Ford fans have nothing to fear. The company's new imported lines will be worthy replacements for their Australian-made counterparts, and car buyers are set to save on their purchases as a result of the cost savings that arise from overseas production.Share