Ford to slash over 300 Victorian jobs

FORD Australia has announced today it will cut up to 350 jobs, over 15 per cent of its Australian manufacturing workforce, in the coming months.

FORD Australia has announced today it will cut up to 350 jobs, 15 per cent of its Australian manufacturing workforce, in the coming months.

Blaming a slump in large car sales, it has been reported that 300 to 350 jobs will go from the car company’s Geelong and Broadmeadows plants from mid-November.

High petrol prices and a slowing economy have been blamed for slow sales of the company’s big six-cylinder Falcon and Territory cars.

The new cuts follow an announcement by Ford earlier this year of the loss of 600 jobs when local six-cylinder engine production ends in 2010.

The decision comes at a turbulent time for Australia’s automotive industry. Holden has already axed 1,100 jobs in Melbourne and Adelaide, with another 100 cut at Mitsubishi in Adelaide.

Ford spokeswoman Sinead McAlary said the job cuts would allow Ford to cut production by 20 to 25 per cent.

Sales of the Territory wagons slowed to 1,028 last month, down from 1,555 the previous July.

Ford launched the new FG Falcon this year, and while the new model has increased Ford’s share of the shrinking large car market, sales are still well below those of the rival Holden Commodore.

The company has said it has a really good future in Australia with local manufacture of the four-cylinder Focus to begin in 2011.

The Ford announcement follows the release of Steve Brack’s report into the Australian car manufacturing industry, with the former Victorian premier calling for a cut in import tariffs from 10 per cent to 5 per cent by 2010.

Released just last week and immediately slammed by industry, the report also calls for the manufacture of more environmentally friendly vehicles and to bring forward a $500 million federal green car fund to start next year.

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