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Ford exits manufacturing but retains local development team

While the local automotive industry comes to grips with Ford's not unexpected exit from local manufacturing, there is some positive news.

Ford has committed to retaining its 1000 Australia-based product development team which will continue their work here in one of Ford's four global product development hubs.

"This Australian team was responsible for designing, engineering and testing global vehicles, including the Ford Ranger and Ford Figo," said Geoff Pearson, Director, Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia.

"Among the 1200 jobs that may be lost when local Ford ceases manufacturing stops are those of the skilled technicians and engineers that work on the production lines," he added. There will be similar impacts on those businesses that supply Ford manufacturing plants.

The big three car companies employ 17,000 people directly in Australia. When suppliers are added, this figure rises to 55,000. In Victoria alone, 25,000 people work in the industry.

Geoff Pearson, Society of Automation Engineers"Automotive manufacturing is among the most complex types of production bringing thousands of complex fabricated components, electronic and hydraulic systems, and comfort and convenience interior fittings together to make a single self propelled mobile unit," explained Pearson (pictured alongside).

"The Society is concerned that such a large number of experienced production people may be lost to Australian industry if other manufacturers do not expand operations, or new enterprises open.

"Reducing costs through the application of state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies and an export focus must be critical objectives for Australian manufacturers," said Pearson.

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