The history of the Ford Motor Company of Australia is very much tied to the success of one vehicle, the Falcon.
Prior to the September, 1960 release of the original Australian built Falcon, Ford in Australia sold a succession of ‘Australianised’ versions of British Fords. In general, they were moderately successful cars, but failed to compete with the various marques of Holdens that prided themselves in being Australian cars for Australians. In the mid fifties, Ford decided that they would set up a new assembly plant in Australia and produce a version of the Ford Zephyr, but it was during a visit to the U.S. to view the design of the new Zephyr that Charles Smith,the Managing Director, got a chance to view the soon to be launched American Ford Falcon. He immediately cancelled plans to build the Zephyr at the new Broadmeadows plant, and instead switched to the Falcon.
Utilising the existing Geelong plant to produce engines and body panels, and employing dozens of Australian suppliers to provide components, the first pre-production prototypes were ready in June, 1960 and production started in July for the September release date.