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2012-07-18 08:59

FORD CLIPS FALCON'S WINGS: Ford will offer 440 workers severance payouts as part of its goal to reduce production and cut jobs after its Falcon sedan (above) failed to make an impact.

Ford will reduce production by 29% and slash 430 jobs in its Australian division after sales of its flagship Falcon car and trucks slumped.

The automaker will reduce its output in Australia to 148 vehicles a day from 209 and offer as many as 440 severance payouts, the brand said in a statement.

Ford says it will fire workers should acceptance of severance offers fall short of its goal.

Sales of the Falcon range, which has been in production since 1960, fell 25% over the first six months of 2012 as Australians switched to more fuel-efficient vehicles. Falcon sales dropped 65% from 2000 through 2011.


Bob Graziano, president of Ford's Australia division, said: "Customers who traditionally purchased large vehicles are looking for alternatives. We're matching our daily output to the demand."

More than half of its vehicles produced will be the Territory SUV, which is seeing continued demand even as many consumers switch to smaller cars.

Ford employs 3014 people at its two plants in Melbourne and the neighboring city of Geelong.

While Australians bought a record number of vehicles last month, a drop in exports has prompted automakers including Toyota to announce job cuts.

Toyota's Australian division, the country's largest vehicle exporter, said that it would cut 350 jobs, more than a 10th of the workforce at its Altona manufacturing plant in Melbourne, after a 21% decline in annual production.

Passenger vehicle exports from Australia fell to their lowest level since 1998 in 2011, dropping 26% to R110.3-billion, the country's statistics bureau reported. Vehicle exports have slumped by 64% since their peak of R30.6-billion in 2008.


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