Ford Manufacturing in Australia

The American motorcar company founded by Michigan native Henry Ford has a rich and vibrant history. From the company’s incorporation in 1903 to Ford’s ingenious establishment of the assembly line to mass produce automobiles for the public, Ford is undoubtedly the father of the car makers. One of the top ten corporations in the world, the Michigan automaker has its feet firmly planted in the globe. For this reason, it is no surprise that Ford has been a major player in the automotive industry in Australia for decades. Ever since Ford sold its first car in Australia in 1904, the company has been firmly implanted into the country.

Ford’s history in Australia dates back to 1904, a mere one year after the automaker became incorporated in the United States. In this year, a Model A was imported into the country. Five years later, Ford of Canada opened a sales branch in the country and Australians responded by purchasing Ford automobiles.

It was not until 1925 that Australia officially became a Ford nation, with company headquarters located in Geelong near Victoria. Quickly establishing an assembly line in an abandoned wool store, the very first Australian-made Ford vehicle was produced in July, merely three months after the Australian company’s formation. This assembly line measured just over 40 feet in length and was installed by Canadian engineers working for the company. Quickly after this line began running and successfully producing Ford’s Model T, more assembly lines began popping up all over the country. The first year of production, these assembly lines (including those in an unused meatworks in Sydney, a produce warehouse in Fremantle, and an old brewery in Tasmania) produced an astounding 12,679 vehicles.

The Depression years from 1928 to 1932 hit the entire country, but Ford managed to keep their assembly lines working. Although sales of automobiles dropped considerably, Ford found their struggle to be successful. Also, the lower prices associated with purchasing parts made in the United Kingdom instead of those made in the United States helped the bottom line and worked to make Fords more reasonable in price. However, once the Depression ended, Ford sales took off again, especially with the introduction of the first V-8, which boasted a previously unheard of 65 horsepower.

With the outbreak of World War II, Ford began to shift their production to wartime goods. Furthermore, as men began joining the Australian forces, women began to take over their spots on Ford’s assembly lines. Building drop tanks, armored cars, ambulances, and troop carriers, Ford found the wartime business so hectic that plants began working around the clock. However, once the war was over, Ford again began producing civilian cars and set their sights on creating the first all-Australian vehicle.

1955 saw the Ford Falcon become the company’s first all-Australian vehicle. Three years later, the plant at Broadmeadows was built. This plant is still used today and sits on 400 acres of land near Melbourne. With the addition of the Broadmeadows plant, the Geelong facility switched over to manufacturing engines. The all-Australia Falcon was incredibly popular, such that the 1960s saw expansion to both the Broadmeadows and the Geelong plants.

Today, the Ford manufacturing facilities in Australia are still going strong and still producing Ford vehicles. These all-Australian vehicles are exported to New Zealand, South America, and some Asian markets.

Ford currently operates two production plants in Australia. The first plant is located in Broadmeadows, a short distance from Melbourne.


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