Ford’s History in Geelong

Ford_stamping_plant_GeelongFord Australia as part of Ford Asia Pacific, is the Australian division of United States-based car giant Ford Motor Company. It was built in Geelong, Victoria, in 1925 as an outpost of Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. At that time, Ford Canada was a separate company from Ford USA. Henry Ford having granted the manufacturing rights of Ford motor vehicles in the British Empire (later the Commonwealth) to Canadian investors.

Ford Australia’s first vehicles were Model Ts assembled from complete knock-down (CKD) kits provided by Ford of Canada. Major assemblies were made in Canada and shipped to Geelong, where the final vehicle was then assembled. Nevertheless, it is best known in more recent times for having produced the Falcon, originally a US model introduced in Australia in 1960, but adapted to Australian requirements and road conditions. Ford Australia went on to develop its own design capabilities and developed its own Falcon models, body styles, and the Territory SUV.

Up to the closing of Ford Australia’s plants in Melbourne and Geelong due to falling sales volumes for large cars, the Geelong manufacturing facilities were producing sheet metal assemblies such as doors, body sides, and floor panels, as well as the much loved locally developed in-line 6 cylinder 4ltr engine in various forms.

In 1934 the company released a coupe utility (ute) based upon the Model A “Closed Cab Pickup Truck”. The local designer was Ford engineer Louis (Lewis) Bandt. During the Depression, banks would not extend credit to farmers to purchase passenger cars. However, they would make loans for “working” vehicles. The first Ford ute fitted the desire of farmers to have a farm vehicle which could also be used “to take the wife to church on Sunday and to the market on Monday”.

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