Production of the iconic Ford Falcon ute ended on Friday, marking the official beginning of the end for Australian car manufacturing.
The final Ford Falcon Ute is a white XR6, and it rolled off the Broadmeadows production line just before 3pm. The vehicle will be retained by Ford Australia.
The denouement to the story of Ford’s Australian manufacturing in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, and engine-making in Geelong, occurs on October 7 with the end of the Falcon sedan and Territory crossover SUV.
Pictured: Ford XK Falcon Ute.
The Falcon ute dates back to the XK derivative of 1961, though the conceptual design of a passenger car-based utility was born in Australia with the 1934 Ford Coupe utility.
Ford made about 26,000 XK, XL, XM and XP utes up to August 1966 at Broady’s Plant 1 and Eagle Farm in Brisbane. This was the first phase in 55 years of continuous production, later relocated to Broadmeadows alone.
Pictured: Ford XR Falcon Ute.
Ford then produced about 48,000 second-generation Falcon Utes (XR, XT, XW and XY models) through to 1972, with the final XY also coming in four-wheel drive, and another 48,000 third-generation utes (XA-XC models) out to May 1979.
The fourth-generation range lasted until March 1993 (encompassing the XD through to the XK Mk II), with about 85,000 units produced, while the fifth-generation (XG-XH MKII) range encompassed 46,000 units of production lasting until May 1999.
Pictured: Ford AU Falcon Ute.
The sixth-generation range (AU through to BF Mk II) lasted to April 2008, with about 154,000 units made. The final Falcon Ute, called the FG and then the FG X, lasted eight years, with just 52,000 made.
Grand total over the life-cycle? 467,690.
Ford Australia’s sole pick-up offering becomes the locally-developed but Thai-built Ranger – currently its top-selling model by some margin.
The only other vehicle in the world quite like it, the Holden Ute, dies late next year. RIP, Falcon Ute.