Ford Motor Company is calling it quits in Australia, after a nearly 90-year run. The U.S. automaker says it will shut down its two factories down under and halt production in 2016.
Ford has been building cars in Australia since 1926, when it made Model-T’s. In its heyday, Ford Australia ran factories in five of the country’s major cities, pumping out the number one selling passenger car, the Falcon. But high manufacturing costs and a strong Aussie dollar have made it cheaper to buy imports.
The company, which lost $600 million over the last five years, has been relying on government handouts to stay afloat.
“Our locally made products continue to be unprofitable, while our imported products are profitable. Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia, leading us to the conclusion that manufacturing is not viable for Ford in Australia in the long term,” said Ford Australia President Bob Graziano.
The shutdown will put around 1200 people out of work. That leaves GM as the only American company still building cars in Australia. But GM’s subsidiary, Holden, is signaling it’s likely to close up shop too. Analysts say the end is imminent for the entire Australian car industry.