FORD has taken its next step in the long process of quitting manufacturing, announcing it will move what’s left of its post-manufacturing Australian operations from Broadmeadows on the outskirts of Melbourne to a new site in inner-city Richmond.
The “reconfiguration” of the Broadmeadows site, which Ford has used as its corporate headquarters since moving there from Geelong in 1961, will relocate 200 of the carmaker’s “employees, contractors and other support staff from the marketing, sales and service team” to the new location by the middle of this year.
The move will happen a year and a half before Ford is scheduled to switch off more than 50 years of Australian manufacturing in October next year and become a full-line importer.
The Broadmeadows office space will be refurbished and turned over to the company’s engineering division, which will remain at the site. The engineering centre will become one of only two Ford development centres outside the US that can design and develop an all-new vehicle from the ground up, but not manufacture it.
Ford said its research and testing operations in Geelong and Lara would “continue uninterrupted”.
Ford Australia currently has about 3000 employees spread between its Geelong-based six-cylinder engine casting facility, the Broadmeadows manufacturing and development base, and the Lara-based You Yangs proving ground and engineering centre.
Once manufacturing ends, the carmaker will cut its headcount to about 1500 workers.
Ford said moving its sales team to the inner-city location would allow it to “capitalise on the area’s vibrancy and related employee satisfaction benefits”.
“The location also provides better access to more consumers and key business partners such as its advertising agency located in Richmond,” it said.