Good Riddance

Well, it looks like Ford is going to stop making engines in Geelong in favour of importing cleaner engines from other Ford subsidiaries. In all honesty, I’m not sad to see them go. If they can’t take the heat, they can get out. I do feel for the six hundred workers who will lose their jobs, but they will get some government assistance, and they are all skilled workers who will be able to find other manufacturing positions.

Now you can clearly see that my position is at odds with the unions. They’re claiming that the federal government should do more to help Ford keep the Geelong engine plant in business. But I definitely don’t want the tax money that I pay going to prop up a poorly managed foreign company.

I don’t think the closure of the Geelong plant is indicative of the state of the automotive industry in Australia at large. Both Toyota and Holden seem to be doing fine. In fact, Toyota exports more than twice as many Australian-made cars as they sell in Australia, and within six months, Holden will be exporting more Australian-made cars than they sell here, too. Building engines in Australia seems to be viable, too. In fact, while the Holden Captiva’s body is made in Korea by Daewoo, it’s fitted with an engine built in Melbourne.

So what’s Ford’s problem? I think what we’re seeing here is indicative of the bigger problems Ford as a whole is facing – they’re losing market share and losing money. They’re strategy to get out of the hole seems to be to employ less people and build less cars – not attempt to regain the market share they’ve lost. When you squeeze, something has to give.

In a way, I do feel sorry for Ford Australia. The biggest export market for Toyota and Holden is the Middle East. Unfortunately, Ford Australia have been blocked from selling a Falcon in that market, because Ford Detroit don’t want them competing with the Crown Victoria. The Territory was a successful attempt to boost local sales, but with rising petrol prices and Euro IV emission standards, it doesn’t look sustainable. They probably could develop better engines that are Euro IV compliant if given the R&D funding, but the decision probably comes from much higher up. The hard workers at the bottom pay for the mistakes of the fat cats at the top.

Will Ford bail out of Australia entirely? I doubt it. They have a strong loyalist following. But if they want to remain successful in any sense of the word, they need to make some major changes to the way they operate. In the end, saving Ford is Ford’s responsibility.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, 18 July, 2007 at 2:19 pm and is filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One response to “Good Riddance”

The Auto Lovers Daily Chit - Chat says:

Ford Shed 600 Geelong Workers but Needs More Worke…

The Ford Motor Company is planning to close their Geelong assembly plant but is looking for more workers for its Campbellfield facility in Melbourne, Australia. The Geelong assembly plant will be closing this coming 2010 but Ford is planning to manuf…..

Leave a Reply