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Holden  Tuned-in: Holden managing director Mike Devereux listens in to a Ford Australia conference call today announcing the end of local production.

Tuned-in: Holden managing director Mike Devereux listens in to a Ford Australia conference call today announcing the end of local production.

Holden, Toyota stand firm in the wake of Ford Australia closure announcement


FELLOW Australian car manufacturers Holden and Toyota have re-affirmed their respective commitments to continue with local manufacturing at their plants in Adelaide and Melbourne.

The news comes as Ford Australia announced today that it would cease to produce cars and engines in Australia at the end of 2016, after more than 90 years as a local manufacturer. As reported, the Blue Oval’s move will likely also see the demise of the 53-year old Falcon badge.

Holden managing director Mike Devereux – speaking at a hastily held press conference in southern New South Wales, where the company is launching its new VF Commodore – remained upbeat about Australia’s car-making industry in light of Ford’s shock decision.

He had listened intently as Ford’s conference call was relayed to assembled media via one of the new Commodore’s Bluetooth phone connection.

“Despite Ford’s announcement to end local manufacturing we believe the industry can survive in Australia and has already adjusted in large part given Ford’s relatively low production volumes,” he said.

“Holden set out a 10-year manufacturing plan that was agreed with the Australian government in 2012 based on economic and market conditions at that time.

“That plan would see Holden inject $1 billion in this country and secure production of two all-new global vehicles all the way up to 2022.

“The industry needs swift action to make Australia’s auto policy settings consistent and globally competitive as quickly as possible.

“Holden is working closely with the Australian government, the federal coalition and state governments to ensure the viability of the industry in the face of the historically significant economic challenges facing the entire country.”

Holden center imageFrom top: Locally made Toyota Aurion and Camry.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Toyota Australia said it was “saddened” by fellow local manufacturer Ford’s decision to cease Australian production, but remains committed to production at its Altona plant in Melbourne, where it produces the Camry and Aurion sedans for both domestic sales and export markets.

The company said that while the operating environment here is “extremely tough”, automotive production remained an important contributor to the Australian economy.

“Manufacturing is an integral part of Toyota’s Australian business,” it said. “The company is now 15 months into a five-year transformation project in response to external challenges including the high Australian dollar, intense market competition and the high cost of materials.

“The objective of the project is to lay a solid foundation for future growth in Australia. The company will consider the impact of this decision on its local supply network and will continue to work closely with its suppliers.”

The company made headlines earlier this week when it announced it had taken on an additional 70 workers at Altona to help it meet extra orders mainly from its export markets, with another 70 soon to join the company.

The car-maker exports its Camry sedan to Middle Eastern countries including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Toyota public affairs manager Glenn Campbell said the unexpected jump in orders would help the car maker produce about 70,000 cars for export this year – the same number it produced last year.

The temporary jobs boom is a boon for Toyota, which early last year slashed 350 jobs in response to falling international demand and a rising Australian dollar that made its cars more expensive to build and sell.

The company also opened a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine plant last year that feeds into the locally made Camry and petrol-electric Camry Hybrid, with 16,000 destined for export to new markets including Thailand and Malaysia.

Toyota is believed to be close to making a decision about a third model that it will add to its Australian car-making operations, with the most likely candidate the RAV4 compact SUV.


Holden  Tuned-in: Holden managing director Mike Devereux listens in to a Ford Australia conference call today announcing the end of local production.








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