Ford announces it will end production in Australia

SYDNEY (AP) -- Ford says it is closing its two Australian auto plants and ending production in the country in 2016 amid soaring manufacturing costs and plummeting sales.

Ford Australia President Bob Graziano announced the closures Thursday. The move will mean the loss of 1,200 jobs and transform Ford into an import-only brand in Australia.

Australia's stubbornly high currency has put pressure on the country's auto manufacturers. Last month, Ford's chief competitor, Holden, said it was cutting 500 jobs amid the high dollar and falling demand.

Graziano says the company has lost 600 million Australian dollars ($5.8 million) over the past five years.

Ford began making cars in Australia in 1925 and is the third largest auto-manufacturer in the country.

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