Ford Australia is to cut another 500 jobs from its Victorian workforce
as slow sales, high fuel prices and its troubled US parent continue to
bite hard on its bottom line.

Both manufacturing and office
workers would be laid off in the latest round of cuts, which would
bring to almost 1,500 the number of workers Ford will shed from its
Broadmeadows and Geelong operations in the next two years, Fairfax
newspapers report.

Ford makes Falcon sedans, wagons and
utilities and Territory wagons in Victoria – large cars suffering a
sales drought because of dearer fuel. Its US parent company is
labouring under massive financial losses.

Ford Australia
spokeswoman Sinead McAlary would not confirm the cuts, but Australian
Manufacturing Workers Union vehicle secretary Ian Jones said he met
with the company late yesterday and was expecting hundreds of jobs to

“I don’t think it’s going to be small,” he said. “We know there are jobs going – we just don’t know the total figure.

big cars are not selling,” he said. “The financial crisis globally, to
be quite frank, means people are hanging onto their money – the second
biggest purchase they make in their life is their car.”

August, Ford said it would cut 350 manufacturing jobs from next month
in a bid to reduce its annual output by one-quarter, or 18,000 cars.

year, Ford said it would close its six-cylinder engine plant at Geelong
by the end of 2010, with the loss of 600 jobs, although it has said it
would make small Focus cars at its Broadmeadows plant from 2011.

Ford employs 4,500 people, with about 2,500 in manufacturing, in Australia.