And Then There Were None

Toyota Heads For The Door

The breaking news is that Toyota is quitting manufacturing cars in Australia:

“Toyota Australia today announced that it will stop building cars in Australia by the end of 2017 and become a national sales and distribution company,” the company said in a media statement.

“This means that local manufacturing of the Camry, Camry Hybrid and Aurion vehicles, as well as the production of four-cylinder engines, will cease by the end of 2017.

“The decision was not based on any single factor. The market and economic factors contributing to the decision include the unfavourable Australian dollar that makes exports unviable, high costs of manufacturing and low economies of scale for our vehicle production and local supplier base,” the statement said.

“Together with one of the most open and fragmented automotive markets in the world and increased competitiveness due to current and future  free trade agreements, it is not viable to continue building cars in Australia.”

The response from the ALP can be described a apoplectic.

‘‘None of this was necessary, this was never inevitable. What is the alternative for the 30,000 auto workers in Victoria?”

Mr Carr said the Labor government had budgeted $200 million to help Toyota build the next-generation Camry in Australia beyond 2017.

”This government has a viciousness to it, a callous disregard for the social consequences,” he said.

”Toyota made it very clear that they need a long-term consistent globally competitive policy suitable to attract future investment.”

Unions laid the blame for the announcement on Prime Minister Tony Abbott, saying the closure came as a result of the Coalition ‘‘refusing to support investment in Australia’’.

So much for being “open for business”. After only 5months in government, the Abbott government has managed to chase off all three car manufacturers right out of Australia – and with them will go skills and experience. I wonder what Bob Katter might have to say about all this. I seem to recall that he was of the view that some industries needed to be preserved no matter what. I just can’t imagine any part of the political spectrum liking this at all except for the Dries in the Liberal Party.

Which all goes to show this is all very ideologically prosecuted, much like everything else they seem to have on their agenda. When you think of the enormity of losing the entire automotive industry except for the dealerships, this is is a devastating attack on the unions.

Looking ahead, I guess this sets Australia up for signing up to the TPP and pulling down tariffs on automobiles coming into Australia. When you think about it, not only will the reduced tariffs apply to American and Japanese cars, they will apply to luxury brands from Europe. You’d have to say this was a win-win for the rich people who hate unions and love a cheaper BMW or Mercedes Benz. What’s not to like? 30,000 jobs in Victoria and South Australia gone? Who cares about those dole-bludgers-to-be? The dripping contempt is palpable.

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