Ford Australia is hoping a $19 million profit after three years of losses will save the company from closing its Geelong, Victoria manufacturing plant.
Ford Australia’s 2009 yearly net profit of $13 million comes on the back of a $274 million loss the previous year, a remarkable recovery for the company which had been under plant closure threats amid parent company consolidation plans. Ford Australia’s sales revenue was down $160 million to $3.14 billion, however the company has cut costs and increased margins by manufacturing only to order.
Ford Australia president and chief executive Marin Burela, who joining the company in 2008 as the third president in 12 months, has lead the company’s revival in Australia.
“In October 2008, it was the beginning of the global financial crises and we were the first company to take decisive action. Some out there criticised our response and actions but we were certain we were doing the right thing,” Mr Burela said.
“I’m very proud of Geelong. Let’s look at what Geelong had to deal with. They had the closure of the engine plant hanging over their heads. They had to look more competitive over the last 12 months. They had to look at the casting plant,” he said.
Mr Burela sang the praises of the unions, who have worked with the company to ensure the Geelong plant remains open.
“We would not have been able to make the massive changes there if it wasn’t a plan worked on together by the people, by the unions – we did it together,” he said.
Sales for the Ford Falcon were up for the year in a declining market, with the FG Falcon increasing its share of the large car market to 34 percent from 25 percent. Overall vehicle sales for the year were just short of 100,000 for the year at 99,279, a fall of 9,285.
“We significantly changed our sales and production focus to build cars based on demand and introduced more fuel efficient vehicles like the Fiesta ECOnetic while improving the environmental performance of our locally manufactured models.”