We are reading some pessimistic words coming out of Australia regarding a viable future for Australian made vehicles. There are reports in the Australian media currently saying that the death of the automotive manufacturing industry appears inevitable. That’s according to the former CEO of Ford Motor Company, Jac Nasser.
He’s sighting a combination of factors in his opinion, the continuing 30-year high Australian dollar, the very weak Euro and Yen currencies, high local cost factors coupled with a lack of support and passion from Australians towards their home grown vehicles. All this places a small but talented industry in a tricky situation.
These comments came just a few days after Holden announced it was axing 500 jobs from its local operations, reducing the workforce to 1680 and cutting down daily vehicle production to 335 from 400. The situation is even grimmer at Ford Australia, which last year reduced its workforce to less than 1500. It also dropped back vehicle production by 30% to under 150 vehicles a day.
According to Nasser, what is the most damming is the reduction of engineers within the workforce. This is the main indicator that the investment dollars are not going into the future vehicle programs and technology.
Then as soon as you see a reduction in the scale of domestic manufacturing and if one of the three vehicle manufactures decides to exit Australia then you end up potentially with sub-standard supplier infrastructure. Once that happens, he thinks it will be a domino effect and the others will follow seeing the end of the Australian made vehicle.