Ford Australia has called a press conference this afternoon “to announce a new direction in automotive manufacturing”
The conference, at Ford’s research and development centre in Geelong, Victoria, will be attended by the Premier of Victoria, John Brumby, and the Australian Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Kim Carr.
Ford Australia CEO, Marin Burela, and senior executive will also be there.
There are no hints of what the “new direction” may be.
But the conference comes at a time when the US car industry, including Ford Australia’s parent company, is calling on the US government for a multi-billion dollar bridging loan to keep them in business in the face of falling demand for new vehicles as the world economic crisis deepens.
The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported today that General Motors chief executive, Rick Wagoner, and Chrysler’s Robert Nardelli told a Senate committee this week that their companies could run out of cash to keep paying their employees and suppliers within six months if the US Government didn’t provide loans of up to $US25 billion.
The Herald said Australian auto executives and government officials have begun considering the implications for Ford and Holden if one of the US manufacturers goes bankrupt.
The Australian industry's immediate focus is on securing government help to restore finance to car dealers following GE Money and GMAC announcing that they would stop lending to Australian dealers from the end of December, but may ask for that extended to government assistance for manufacturers, the Herald reported.
It quoted the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union's vehicle industry division head, Ian Jones, as saying the industry was bracing itself for the possible collapse of one of the US companies, although he believed Ford and Holden in Australia were in better shape than their parents.