Ford Australia on Thursday said it would cut 450 more jobs because of falling sales and the global financial crisis, taking total job losses by 2010 to 1,400.

The latest cuts would (again) be on a voluntary basis and it was expected that enough employees would claim redundancy, Ford Australia chief executive Marin Burela told a news agency.

He said the job cuts followed a strategic review amid a deterioration in the business in recent months and would reposition the company in the current trading environment.

The job losses would cover all the company's operations in Victoria state and would be equally spread between its Geelong [engines] and Broadmeadows [car assembly] plants.

In August, Ford announced 350 jobs were to go from the factories in mid-November, while 600 jobs were to be cut by 2010 with the closure of the Geelong engine plant when the long-serving Australian-made in-line six cylinder engines used in the Falcon and Territory lines are replaced by V6s imported from the US.

A local trade publication said then that Ford was cutting production by 23% and axing up to 15% of its workforce by the end of 2008.

Ford makes only the Falcon and the Territory SUV spin-off locally, importing the rest of its range from countries as diverse as Thailand, South Africa and Germany, though it plans to start Focus production in 2011. Over the years, the automaker has assembled vehicles from the UK, the US, Canada and Japan as well as its domestically developed models.

Over the Christmas holiday period Ford will upgrade the Broadmeadows plant, including new robots in the paint shop.

A Ford spokeswoman said in August 300 new jobs would be created when Focus production commenced in 2011 and that the [re]introduction of a locally built small car [after about 15 years] put the company in a good position for the future, adding up to 40,000 vehicles to annual production.

Ford is the third-largest selling car brand in Australia.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) data showed that 80,938 cars, trucks and buses were sold in September - down 3.1% year on year. Year-to-date, new vehicles sales were up just 0.3% to 784,932.

Toyota retained the top sales position in September with a market share of 22.4%, followed by Holden with 13.1% and Ford with 11%. Year-to-date Toyota has sold 183,806 vehicles, followed by Holden (99,600) and Ford (81,416).