Final Ford Falcon Ute rolls off the assembly line
Rest in peace, Ford Falcon Ute. Time of death: July 29, 2016, 2:45 pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time.
The final Ford Falcon Ute, a car-based pickup, rolled out of its Melbourne factory this week, marking the end of an era. Utes have been part of the Australian automotive landscape for decades. The first Ford Falcon Ute debuted in 1961, but whereas utility vehicles in the style of the Ford Ranchero and Chevy El Camino disappeared from the US market in the 80s, they’ve continued strong Down Under for several more decades.
Ford and Holden, General Motor’s Australian subsidiary, were the major manufacturers of utes, but both announced they were pulling manufacturing out of the Australian market and discontinuing region-specific models, marking the end of the Falcon Ute.
The last Falcon Ute was a white XR6 model, reports Motoring. Falcon sedans will continue until October 7, when Ford shutters is Australian plants altogether. Ford cited the strong Australian dollar and manufacturing costs as reasons why they needed to pull production out of the country.
Ford’s announcement caused a domino reaction from GM and Toyota, Australia’s two other manufacturers as suppliers were expected to either dry up or raise prices. The move has effectively ended the Australian auto industry.