Sales of Commodore and Falcon utes hit record lows in 2015, as both models approach the end of the line.
Ford’s factory in Broadmeadows falls silent forever October 2016, and Holden’s assembly line in Elizabeth near Adelaide shuts in late 2017.
Both Ford and Holden have no plans to replace their Australian-made utes with models based on passenger cars such as the Falcon and Commodore. Instead, Ford and Holden have embraced the massive shift in buyer tastes towards four-door 4WD pick-ups.
The Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger are now the top sellers in the ute class.
The Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger are made in Thailand along with the Holden Colorado, Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi Triton, Mazda BT-50 and Isuzu D-Max.
Further, Australia V8 fans will have to get used to four-cylinder and V6 power for their future performance sedans, the Asia-Pacific boss of General Motors Stefan Jacoby has confirmed what has long been feared.
The Holden V8 will die once manufacturing comes to an end at Holden’s factory in Elizabeth in South Australia at the end of 2017.
The last ever Ford Falcon ute rolled off the Broadmeadows production line near the end of shift about 3pm on Friday — following in the tyre tracks of the original Falcon ute built in the same facility 55 years ago, in February 1961.
Ford is said to have invented the ute — and then introduced it to the rest of the world in 1934
after receiving a letter from a Victorian farmer’s wife in 1933 requesting a vehicle civilized enough to drive to church on Sundays and practical enough to take pigs to market on Mondays.
Holden and Toyota will be shutting down their car assembly lines in late 2017.
Rather than building cars in Australia, a team of more than 1100 designers and engineers will develop global vehicles for Ford.
And suddenly, Australia will be stuck with the American problem of Detroit... having car manufacturing head offices, and planning staff, but outsourcing all the production to cheaper foreign labor... just like Detroit.... and even more similarities arise when you compare NAFTA with the Australia Thailand free trade agreement. More on that below
The next generation of vehicles such as the Ford Ranger will be designed and engineered in Australia, but made in Thailand where manufacturing labour costs are one-fifth the rate in Australia.
Sales of locally-made cars and utes have been in free fall since Australia signed a free-trade agreement with Thailand.
In 2004, one year before the trade deal with Thailand — the biggest producer of pick-ups in the Asia-Pacific region — Ford and Holden sold more than 40,000 Australian-made utes between them.
In 2015, just 2600 Ford Falcon utes and 4900 Holden Commodore utes were sold. The decline has continued into 2016.
In 2006, just one year after the Free Trade Agreement with Thailand, the Toyota HiLux overtook sales of Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon utes.
Imports of cars and utes from Thailand have almost tripled since the Free Trade Agreement was signed (from 84,000 in 2005, to 250,000 in 2015).
In return, Australia has exported just 100 Ford Territory SUVs to Thailand, in 2012.