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Holden quits: Fight swings to saving Toyota

Setting sail: Almost 70,000 Australian-made Toyota Camrys and Aurions were loaded into car carrying ships during the financial year ended March 31.

Victoria’s premier says funds earmarked for Holden could divert to Toyota

12 Dec 2013

THE Victorian government will hold an industry-wide crisis meeting next week to thrash out ideas on how to keep Toyota’s car-making business in the state.

Victorian premier Denis Napthine revealed today that the state’s manufacturing minister, David Hodgett, was convening a crisis meeting next Wednesday to address the issue.

“David Hodgett ... is at the moment doing the legwork to call together an automotive discussion with key players, particularly the unions, particularly the management, the supply chain and representatives of the total automotive industry to come together with government to talk about how we can assist the industry,” he said.

Mr Napthine said the crisis meeting would also look at how the state could assist the workers and their families, as well as maximise assistance from the federal government.

“Toyota has a strong track record of employment in Victoria and across Australia. They also have a different model of production in a substantial export component to their production,” Mr Napthine said shortly before flying to Canberra to meet with prime minister Tony Abbott.

“And on that basis, I think ongoing discussions with Toyota and the state and federal governments ought to consider their track record, consider the model of business operation they have, and the opportunities they have.

“And I certainly will be pushing the federal government for co-operative, helpful discussions with Toyota,” he said.

Mr Napthine said there was the potential for public funding once earmarked for Holden to be diverted to Toyota, which exports 70 per cent of the cars rolling off its Altona production line.

“We’ll be considering that. We certainly will be working with Toyota,” he said.

“I’ve had a discussion with Toyota yesterday, and I will be having further discussions with Toyota next week with regard to their needs and their requirements, and we’ll be working as a state government with Toyota to assist them in any way possible.”“We believe Toyota do have a viable business model, and we will be working with Toyota to secure their business in Australia, secure their supply chain, and give them every chance to grow and develop her with this great state of Victoria.”

Mr Napthine said he had spoken yesterday with Toyota Australia chief executive Max Yasuda, who said the car-maker wanted to keep its presence here.

“But they say the decision by Ford and now General Motors makes it very challenging for Toyota, there was no doubt about that,” he said.

“We need to face those challenges. But I want to work with Toyota because I believe their business model is different, and I believe there are opportunities to work with Toyota in a constructive way.

“I want to deal with that, and I believe we can persuade the federal government’s concerns about the long-term viability of Toyota’s manufacturing business.”

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