The end of car manufacturing in Australia

Posted on 13 Nov 2017 and read 192 times
The end of car manufacturing  in AustraliaGeneral Motors (www.gm.com) closed its Holden factory in the South Australian suburb of Elizabeth last month, ending more than a century of car manufacturing in the country and leaving hundreds of workers jobless — just weeks after Toyota Motor Corp shut its plant in the neighbouring state of Victoria (where Ford Motor Co also closed two sites last year).

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “The end of Holden making cars in Australia is a very sad day for the workers and
for every Australian. It is the end of an era — everyone has a Holden story.”

While rising incomes and record-low interest rates have encouraged consumers to buy new vehicles, many shunned the large passenger cars for which GM Holden was known.

William McGregor, industry analyst at IBIS World, said: “Consumers want fuel-efficient small cars and sports utility vehicles, and overseas manufacturers have been able to profit from changing tastes.”

Monthly ‘SUV and crossover’ sales hit a record in June, passing the 40,000 mark, according to data from Australia’s Bureau of Statistics.

GM Holden, whose SUV range proved unpopular with Australians, will shift production to Germany, where advanced automation will help keep costs low as the company re-vamps its line-up.

The last Holden built in Australia — a VFII Commodore Redline — rolled off the production line more than 50 years after the factory opened.

There are some brighter spots on the horizon. The Australian government has announced an A$89 billion (US$70 billion) ship-building plan, which includes constructing 12 submarines, mainly in South Australia.

This should generate thousands of jobs, but the key part of the programme is not scheduled to start until the early 2020s.

“Scott Batchelor, South Australia vehicles secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, said: “That’s four or five years away, which is a long time between the auto industry closing-down and people getting jobs in ship-building.”

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