Ford said on Thursday (May 23) it is closing its two Australian motor plants and will cease production in the country in October 2016 after losing $585 million (£389 million) over the last five years.

Ford Australia Chief Executive Bob Graziano said the company will close its engine plant in Geelong and its assembly plant in Broadmeadows, both in the state of Victoria.

The car manufacturer has been struggling with sliding sales, high costs and a strong Australian dollar.

"Our locally made products continue to be unprofitable while our imported products are profitable. In the search to improve scale and competitiveness we explored what export opportunities might be available to us. But we were still faced with the fact that our cost structure in Australia remained uncompetitive. Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia," Graziano said.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union reacted with dismay saying the government needed to provide support for workers who will lose their jobs.

"This will have devastating effects on the families and on the people who have dedicated their lives and their careers and their hard work, their sweat, their muscle to actually help deliver these cars," said union member Frank Holdsworth.

Ford said 510 jobs would go at its Geelong engine factory and 650 jobs at the Broadmeadows car assembly plant.

Presented by Adam Justice