MELBOURNE, Australia -- Ford Motor Co., saddled with high costs, falling sales and financial losses, will close its Australian car and engine assembly plants in October 2016 after almost nine decades of manufacturing in the country, Bloomberg and Reuters reported.
Ford, the smallest of the country's three manufacturers after Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors, will shut its assembly plant in northern Melbourne and an engine plant to the west of the city, Ford Australia CEO Bob Graziano said.
Ford, which will continue to import vehicles through more than 200 dealers, has struggled with sliding sales in a fragmented market, high operating costs and a strong Australian dollar.
The company said it will try to maintain some of the 1,000 jobs at its r&d division in Melbourne. Australia is one of four product development hubs for Ford's global operations. It has lost the equivalent of $578 million in the country over five years, the company said in a statement.
"Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia," Graziano said. "The business case simply did not stack up. Manufacturing is not viable for Ford in Australia."