The third largest automobile manufacturer in Australia is preparing to shutter its factories.
On Thursday, Ford (F) announced that it will end production in the Australia by 2016, closing two factories and laying off 1,200 workers. The American auto giant is facing falling sales and higher costs due to the surging value of the Australian dollar. The company’s Australian operations have lost more than $500 million since 2008, the Associated Press noted.
After it ceases production in Australia, Ford will retain 1,500 employees involved in sales and development. The automaker will import cars to the Australian market. Ford opened its first Australian production facility in 1925.
Ford faces an Australian market that is less friendly to large vehicles. It’s manufacturing costs in Australia are four times that in other Asian nations and twice those in Europe.
It’s a different story for Ford’s U.S. manufacturing operations. The company recently announced that it would add 2,000 workers to boost production of trucks at a Missouri plant.
Shares of Ford fell almost 3% in Thursday morning trading in a downward trending market for auto stocks.