Ford Motor Co. will stop manufacturing vehicles in Australia in 2016, a continent where the Dearborn automaker has produced automobiles for about nine decades.

Ford on Wednesday said two manufacturing sites -- Broadmeadows and Geelong -- will close, resulting in 1,200 job losses. Ford said it has lost about $581 million in Australia in the last three years.

"All of us at Ford remain committed to our long history of serving Australian customers with the very best vehicles that deliver cutting-edge technology at an affordable cost," said Bob Graziano, president and CEO of Ford Australia, in a statement. "Unfortunately, due to challenging market conditions we are unable to do that longer-term while continuing to manufacture locally."

The Australian car market comprises about 1.1 million annual new-vehicle sales split among more than 65 brands. A weakening Japanese yen compared to the Australian dollar has resulted in import vehicles that are less expensive.

Ford said it evaluated "all viable alternatives," but that "given the fragmented marketplace and the low model volumes that result, we decided that manufacturing locally is no longer viable," Graziano said.

Ford said it will maintain a presence in Australia through 1,500 team members, including designers and engineers, and more than 200 dealers. Ford will also launch updated versions of three popular Australian cars and will continue to offer global products like the Ranger pickup truck and Focus compact car.


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