Going, Going, Gone…

Toyota, Australia’s ‘last’ Automaker announces it will pull up stumps in 2017.

In May, 2013 Ford announced its plans to offshore their manufacturing, then in December, Holden announced similar plans and now Toyota completes the hat trick in under 10 months, the last of the Automakers have all announced they will be closing their manufacturing plants citing similar reasons, high-dollar, high wages, low turnover.

Aren’t these factors all short term? Holden had been around for around 60 years. None of the acr makers blamed the Government, but with a highly competitive market and a small market, were these factors the tipping point. One person I know in the Holden channel mentioned that the re-badged commodore is GM’s 3rd biggest selling car in the U.S., so while our buying habits may of changed, the U.S. market still has a hunger for our designs.

People said Toyota will stay because they have a stronger export market than the other car makers, but that wasn’t enough either. The Productivity Commissions interim report mentioned the same factors among others as to why the car industry is finding it tough.

If the makers of automobiles can’t survive in this harsh Aussie climate, like the cars they built can, then who’s responsibility does it fall on to keep it alive? The Liberals wanted a ‘strong’ pillar of manufacturing but are not interested in subsidising it and putting in place long term policies to the extent that it really requires, wanting the free market to decide. Tony Abbott sought ‘talks’ with Toyota, but I didn’t hear him ‘walking’. Labor didn’t do much either, late with promises, then chopping and changing them to keep in power and win elections. Both parties offer no certainty, you can’t give me pocket money every week and then without notice change it or cut it, I’ve got plans too.

Australia needs automotive more than automotive needs Australia. If Australia isn’t going to do enough to protect that need, then the current Government, the opposition, the unions and everyone else should stop playing the blame game, because the writing was on the wall a good 10 years ago. The manufacturers want to turn a profit and if they can’t do it here, they’ll do it elsewhere.

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