The VACC response is quoted verbatim below.
VACC acknowledges that today is a sad day for the Australian automotive industry following Ford's announcement that it will cease car manufacturing in October 2016. However, the news was not entirely unexpected and, while delivered perhaps sooner than expected, VACC says it provides an opportunity to review Australia's automotive manufacturing strategy.
VACC is obviously disappointed Ford Australia announced today that it will cease manufacturing vehicles in Australia. Today's announcement by Ford Australia, CEO, Bob Graziano, confirmed that production of the Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory will end in October 2016 and 1,200 jobs in Broadmeadows and Geelong would become redundant. Ford will work with employers and representatives to support those affected during the transition period.
"It is a shame Ford Australia will cease production, after nearly 100 years of doing so," VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.
"Nobody likes to hear of redundancies and we hope the Ford employees affected by this decision will be able to find alternative employment or assistance in other ways. However, while today's timing may have come as a surprise to many, the announcement was not entirely unexpected within the automotive industry.
"We need to consider Ford's announcement very carefully. Ford's production may be coming to an end but the Ford brand will remain strong and approximately 1,500 jobs in research, development and innovation will be retained. We cannot afford to overlook the design side of the industry and it's time much more was done to promote this country's design capabilities. For example, the Ford Design Centre is one of the best in the world, housing highly skilled designers, inspiring products and innovation. We need governments to recognise that even if manufacturing in Australia is reduced, we are a world leader in design, research and development and governments need to get behind it in a much more strategic sense.
"Today's announcement should not have a negative impact on car buyers. Ford vehicles still have an excellent reputation in the retail, service and repair sector of the automotive industry and VACC Ford dealer members continue to stock the full range of products and offer customers great opportunities. For buyers, it really is business as usual.
"Ford's situation in no way alters VACC's view that automotive manufacturing is a significant contributor to the economy and community. We will continue to promote the industry and call on governments to provide support and assistance, even if we might need to adjust our sights," Mr Purchase said.