It has been three years since Ford Australia announced plans to end local vehicle production in October 2016, and the automaker just took another major step in that plan by building the final Falcon Ute. The Blue Oval assembled over 479,000 of them in Oz since 1961. The last one was a white XK6 model, CarsGuide reported.
Ford Australia will keep the final Falcon Ute and will display the vehicle at public events. “It will be held in our historical vehicle fleet, along with the final Falcon and final Territory, both of which will be built on October 7,” company spokesperson Wes Sherwood told CarsGuide.
Ford invented the coupe-utility, later shortened to ute, in 1934 as a way to combine the capabilities of a car and a truck for farmers. The company debuted the look for the final examples of the Falcon Ute in 2014 as a 2015 model.
Ford Australia cited the difficult market conditions and high manufacturing costs as reasons to end vehicle assembly there. The shutdown will close the company’s Broadmeadows auto factory and Geelong engine plant, which will put around 1,200 people out of work.
Ford isn’t the only automaker that is ending vehicle production in Australia. For example, Major rival Holden, which General Motors owns, plans to stop local assembly at the end of 2017, which could put 2,900 people out of work. In addition, Toyota intends to cease manufacturing the Camry there in 2017, which affects 2,500 workers.