Ford Australia under Bob Graziano

Ford Territorys board boat to Thailand

SLOWING sales, the decision to exit Australian manufacturing, and the biggest loss in Ford Australia’s history will remain the legacy of US-born Bob Graziano’s almost five-year stewardship.

Here’s how his Australian sojourn panned out:

Oct 2010: Ford announces Graziano, then heading up its China operation, as head of Ford Australia, replacing Australian Marin Burella

Mar 2011: Production cut to three days a week for a month to help clear a backlog of unsold cars

May 2011: Ford Australia posts $25 million profit for the 2011 financial year; industry minister Kim Carr predicts slow Falcon, Territory sales will bounce back with new models

Jul 2011: Ford introduces capped-price servicing scheme to win back customers

Jan 2012: Federal government invests $103 million in next-generation Falcon large car, sparking furore over government support for car industry; Ford regional chief Joe Hinrichs says Australia is too expensive to start an export program

May 2012: Ford Australia posts record $290 million loss; Ford aims at retaking top-three sales spot in Australia; Ford workers return to work after collapse of parts supplier CMI temporarily interrupts production

Jul 2012: Ford announces 440 redundancies and flags 30 percent cut to production, from 209 to 148 vehicles a day

Aug 2012: 100 Ford Territory SUVs ship to Thailand as part of a trial export program, but local tariffs push price tag to $100,000; US parent invests heavily in Broadmeadows-based design centre

Nov 2012: 330 factory workers pushed out the door as Ford holds hopes of keeping workforce stable at 2900

Apr 2013: LHD Territory export program declared too costly to be viable

May 2013: Ford Australia formally announces it will quit manufacturing, posts $141 million loss and flags it won’t return to profitability until after it shuts down local production; Kim Carr says it could have survived longer with aborted Focus production plan

July 2013: Ford regional chief Joe Hinrichs says Australia was too far away from US to make it viable

Aug 2013: Down days introduced due to slowing Falcon, Territory sales; US chief Alan Mulally admits Australian production “had to go”

Jan 2014: Detroit flags Australia will be a drain on profits ahead of 2016 closure

Apr 2014: Ford invests in Lara proving ground as part of Australian engineering focus

Jun 2014: Redundancy axe falls again, culling 200 from manufacturing; Falcon and Territory production cut to 83 vehicles a day, down from 133 in January; Graziano denies rumours slow sales will force early factory closures

Nov 2014: Graziano says he’s not interested in chasing a top-three spot in the Australian market

Dec 2014: Extended capped-price servicing program launched to lure customers, later expands it to include free loan car for customers having vehicles serviced at Ford dealerships; announces plans to release 20 new-generation or refreshed models in Australia by 2020; quits V8 Supercars

Jan 2015: Sales of Ford’s locally made cars falls to a 48-year low

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