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FORD Australia will cut up to 350 jobs - 15 per cent of its Australian manufacturing workforce, blaming a slump in large car sales.
Between 300 and 350 jobs will go from Ford's Geelong and Broadmeadows plants from mid-November as high petrol prices and a slowing economy hit sales of the company's big six-cylinder Falcon and Territory cars, Fairfax reported.

The new cuts follow an announcement by Ford earlier this year of the loss of 600 jobs when local six-cylinder engine production ends in 2010.

The decision comes at a turbulent time for Australia's automotive industry. Holden has already axed 1100 jobs in Melbourne and Adelaide, with another 100 cut at Mitsubishi in Adelaide.

Yesterday, confectionary giant Cadbury announced it was cutting 350 jobs from operations

Just last week, former Victorian premier Steve Bracks released his report into the Australian car manufacturing industry, calling for a cut in import tariffs from 10 per cent to 5 per cent by 2010, the manufacture of more environmentally friendly vehicles and to bring forward a $500 million federal green car fund to start next year.

Ford spokeswoman Sinead McAlary said the job cuts would allow Ford to cut production by 20 to 25 per cent.

Sales of the Territory wagons slowed to 1028 last month, down from 1555 the previous July.

Ford launched the new FG Falcon this year, and while the new model has increased Ford's share of the shrinking large car market, sales are still well below those of the rival Holden Commodore.

But Ms McAlary told Fairfax Ford had a "really good future" in Australia, with local manufacture of the four-cylinder Focus to begin in 2011.

About 40,000 Focus cars will be built in Victoria's Broadmeadows plant, leaving Ford as the only local manufacturer of small cars, Ms McAlary said.,27753,24222706-462,00.html

Another job cut from a local manufacturer, not good :(
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