There is a vast expanse of disused and dirty industrial land about 1km from where I grew up which served for years as a gigantic money pit for the Australian taxpayer.

The Mitsubishi site, when it had cars in it. Photo: Herald Sun

The millions and millions of dollars poured into it ultimately failed to do anything to stem its demise.

Today, the abandoned Mitsubishi site stands as a monument to an industrial policy which tried to forestall the inevitable, creating false hope for workers whose jobs were marginal at best, and enlisting the taxpayers as a reliable cash-cow while failing to put any real pressure on the company chiefs to address the demand problems with the type of cars they were producing.

When Mitsubishi closed its doors in 2009, it did so having received a $35 million offer of assistance from the Howard Government and $50 million from South Australia’s Rann Government. To his credit former Premier Mike Rann immediately wrote to Mitsubishi asking the company to repay the money it had been lent, which was meant to secure the development and production of the mid-sized 380 model. The company had also promised to continue with its local assembly operations until 2010, but fell short by 12 months, with the Australian arm of its business having accumulated losses of some $1.5 billion over the previous decade.

If the Mitsubishi collapse sounded a warning about the wisdom and merit of these taxpayer-funded industry bailouts, the job losses at Ford this month have driven a stake through their heart.

While the impact of globalisation and the sheer impossibility of competing with Third World countries is a huge part of the challenge, there is also a separate but significant issue which goes to the business decisions made by some of the car manufacturers, principally their determination to keep producing cars for which there is no real demand. The fact that so much taxpayers money has been spent defending an industry which sometimes makes stupid decisions now has serious repercussions for every car manufacturer, regardless of whether they are adjusting their practices to suit the market or not. 

The once-great Ford Falcon is a case in point. Ford received a direct taxpayer-funded contribution of $42 million from the Federal Government in 2009, specifically for the development of the four-cylinder Falcon. The company received a further $103 million package from the Victorian and Federal Governments and its US parent company in January this year. Of that bailout $34 million was paid by federal taxpayers and $9 million by taxpayers in Victoria.

All this money was meant to secure the local production of the flagship Falcon brand, but just six months later the company announced that it would be axing 440 jobs at its Melbourne and Geelong plants, and reducing the daily production of vehicles from 209 to 148 from November of this year.

Quite simply there is no public demand for the vehicle. As Fairfax’s Joshua Dowling wrote when the job losses were announced this month, Ford and its employees have bought three times’ as many cars as private buyers since the vehicle went on sale three months ago, 159 versus 53. And the Federal Government itself, which has blown $76 million on its production, has bought a grand total of two vehicles.

The uncritical delivery of public money to companies such as Ford has done nothing to stem the flow of jobs or boost sales of the now-dated sedans which Aussies are rejecting for smaller, cheaper vehicles or SUVs. The danger is that companies such as Holden, which have rightly sniffed the wind and changed their business model with the production of models such as the Cruze for which demand is buoyant, will now fall victim to the completely understandable public conviction that all these bailouts have been a massive waste of money.

As far as Ford and Mitsubishi were concerned, the money they received made about as much sense as bailing out the Beta video recorder industry in the late 1980s. It shouldn’t be the job of governments to prop up the production of unpopular products. The increasing number of now-abandoned manufacturing sites around Australia’s industrial suburbs proves that it won’t work in the long run anyway.

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    • MarkF says:

      06:22am | 27/07/12

      I stumbled across the price for a Toyota Tacoma for sale in America.  Recommended retail price of around $17,000 yet if you want something similar in Australia (Toyota Hilux) your looking around $40,000.  Talk to some Kiwi’s and find out how cheap they can get cars from the thriving grey market of second hand Japanese cars and again compare it to Australian prices for the same thing over here.

      Australians are getting massively ripped off on prices for vehicles whether they are made here or imported, new or second hand.

      I have absolutely no sympathy for the Australian car industry.

    • wakeuppls says:

      08:58am | 27/07/12

      It’s a shame because the attitude that car makers have in this country is that of recklessness. They think they’ll just get a handout to remain open and simply do not care if their business is profitable. Clearly it isn’t, with the absurd costs of cars in this country.

    • Gregg says:

      10:04am | 27/07/12

      Sniffing the wind eh Penbo?
      “and enlisting the taxpayers as a reliable cash-cow while failing to put any real pressure on the company chiefs to address the demand problems with the type of cars they were producing. “

      Anybody would think that running a massive industry is easy bikkies, especially when you might be attempting to forecast vehicle models five and ten years out from when they might be in the showrooms.

      Australians may have been gradually turning to smaller vehicles as our cities grow and more people realise that a smaller car will get them around easy enough for city/suburban use.
      Some if not most smaller cars are useable for longer distance driving into the country and even interstate as many use them for.
      On the other hand, if you are six foot and a few inches of about 100 kg. plus and you use a smaller car for longer distance travel and also a larger car, you certainly realise the difference, the larger cars not only soaking up the road undulations a bit or a lot better but with engines revving a lot lower for same speeds and wheel diameters meaning wheel revolutions are lower, you have a quieter more relaxing journey, less stressed and thus probably safer too.

      People might even find that for longer drives, the bigger cars are not exceptionally more the gas guzzler either and bigger boots are ideal for LPG conversions tanks.
      So there is still something to be said for medium to larger size vehicles and it is not just vehicle manufacturing choice that is causing decline of manufacturers and far from it.

      You have vehicle purchasing probably more reflecting a true representation of the economy than other indicators or Swann & Co. telling us all how good it is.

      And then you have all the past fleet sales to government departments and other organisations, a lot of that being done on a two or three year renewal basis, in the past at least because other economic gurus will say that is the right time to swap a vehicle over.
      Subsequently, you have acres and acres of low kilometer not so old vehicles about waiting to be sold at auction or otherwise if desired prices are not reached.
      If you’re smart and want a newish vehicle, will you pay $40,000 for one that will have a value of $30,000 immediately you hand the money over or would you prefer to get a two year old car with less than 40,000 km. on the clock, basically just run in and pay less than $20,000 for it?

      And so MarkF, there are also many dealers here in Australia who operate in the import from Japan market and even a few who will have buyers going to Japan to look for particular vehicles.

      And wakeuppls, you do know all about being reckless now.

    • Confused Fuddy Duddy says:

      11:07am | 27/07/12

      I think if you are going to compare vehicle prices across countries you also need to understand the variances.
      Your are quite right in saying the Toyota Tacoma in the USA is similar to the Hylux here (they are from the same car line) the “Recommended retail price of around $17,000” is, I’m guessing for an entry level Tacoma with minimal equipment, 2.7 litre 4 cylinder and 2 year 25,000 mile (about 40,000km) warranty. Manufacturers selling price USD17125. Not including, Manufacturer delivery, Dealer Delivery, registration, any insurance or Taxes!
      As far as I can see a base Level Hylux in Australia has a higher equipment spec a 4.0litre V6, Manufacturers Recommended retail price AUD26,490 includes manufacturers delivery, dealer delivery registration, compulsory third party insurance, 3 year 100,000km warranty and all Taxes.
      Without doing a line by line comparison and including exchange rate implications the comparison is a lot closer than what you claim to be “your (sic) looking around $40,000.”
      If you are going to throw data please get it closer to actuality, it may help your argument.

    • Confused Fuddy Duddy says:

      11:14am | 27/07/12

      And I forgot to add that the Tacoma may be built in the USA or Thailand or Mexico or somewhere else, but not Australia. I think the Hylux is built in Thailand, definately not Austrlia.
      So what is the point of the camparison in the first place where the article is about the Australian industry?

    • Charlie says:

      12:25pm | 27/07/12

      right- but also compare housing prices and other goods compared to income and then take into account the differences accross the world.  I can feed myself for 10AUD a day in Bangkok with a comparative feast in Adelaide probably being closer to the $60/$80 AUD mark…

    • Thai John says:

      03:51pm | 27/07/12

      My brother inlaw is a Toyota salesman in Thailand and he nearly had a stroke when I told him how much for a Hilux here in Australia.
      Tow of the line turbo deisel with leather seats for about 34 grand, You cant even get them here with leather seats.

    • Craig says:

      06:29am | 27/07/12

      The government’s attitude towards treating car making as of national importance while allowing other industries to struggle (such as tourism), is appalling and distorts our labour market in weird and unsustainable ways.

      The idea that we need car manufacturing in order to make tanks or similar military equipment might be true but Australia is not defensible based on its current population, nor could we produce enough material quickly enough to stave off a modern attacker of the scale of Indonesia, India or China (not saying they would ever attack us).

      The government has poured bad money after bad where it could, instead, have invested those funds in building worker resilience and retraining, or into sustainable long-term industries or into services or even debt reduction - whatever provides the most benefit.

      Instead both the Coalition and Labour have bailed out foreign-owned companies, who will never make profits sufficient to pay taxes and have no ongoing commitment or interest in Australia.

      It has been poor policy - focused on getting votes in specific electorate rather than supporting Australia’s future.

      And at the same time Australia remains the only G20 member without a space agency. Surely that would be an area of more national significance and future value than throwing money at unwanted land-based motor vehicles!

    • nathan says:

      07:14am | 27/07/12

      I enjoyed your remarks there seem to be pretty spot on for mine. Did not know that about the space agency, every day is a school day

    • acotrel says:

      07:51am | 27/07/12

      ‘The idea that we need car manufacturing in order to make tanks or similar military equipment might be true but Australia is not defensible based on its current population, nor could we produce enough material quickly enough to stave off a modern attacker of the scale of Indonesia, India or China (not saying they would ever attack us).’

      We no longer have defence manufacturing on any substantial scale in Australia.  We’ve moved well away from R&D in that area.  What are our remaining hi-tech engineering based industries now ?  Science and engineering are like our sex organs - use them or lose them !

    • L. says:

      08:08am | 27/07/12

      “but Australia is not defensible based on its current population”

      Rubbish.. there is all of 3 countries in the world that could take on Australia with an invasion…US, India and China. Two of those are allies.

      “or could we produce enough material quickly enough to stave off a modern attacker of the scale of Indonesia, India or China”

      the Indon’s..? Are you kidding? Are these the same Indon with less than 10 flying modern fighters? With now major sea or airlift capability? WHo would then have to make a fight advance across 4000Km + of desert.

      Sorry for the post hijack, but that is just nonsense.

    • ronny jonny says:

      08:14am | 27/07/12

      Besides, we can buy cheap tanks from China

    • thatmosis says:

      08:24am | 27/07/12

      I agree wholeheartedly and even some of our latest efforts at building defence items have failed miserably. Look at the Collins Class Submarine who boasted that they sank a stationary and unprotected ship the other day but then sprung a leak, I nearly wet myself laughing at that one. Monumental fail of the worst kind.
        As for the Car industry its not needed in this country as we can import vehicles of a better standard and cheaper than the locally built cars, with warranties that outstrip the local cars. It may seem like a patriotic thing to do to support the local car industry but lets face it its not really a viable industry in the first place, and its profits go overseas anyway as the big two as they like to call themselves are owned by overseas interests who would shut shop at a moments notice if it suited them.
        Add to this the extra costs that now will be incurred in their manufacture as the Carbon Tax bites and they will either be too expensive for the average person to afford or their already dodgy finish and after sales service will suffer. This industry as with a lot of Australian industries are on a hiding to nowhere and in five years we will be hard pressed to find a viable manufacturing industry here with the loss of jobs that entails and the lack of apprenticeships that would see tradesmen coming on line in the future. Now all teenagers say after me, “will that be fires with that order sir” because that will be the only employment left to most.

    • Ginger Mick says:

      10:01am | 27/07/12

      @  ronny jonny

      OR Russia, they have been flogging off old models to third world countries (along with guns and ammo) for bugger all.

      Anyway in modern battle against modern weapons tank are a liability, expensive and easy to destroy.

      Far better to buy loads of antitank rpg’s and hand held anti aircraft missiles.

    • L. says:

      01:16pm | 27/07/12

      “We no longer have defence manufacturing on any substantial scale in Australia.”

      Except for the ANZAC frigates, Airwarfare Destroyers, Submarines and Sub over hauls, MHR90 and Tigre attack helos, F-35 components and any number of army vehicals.

      “We’ve moved well away from R&D in that area.”

      Except for F-35 components and manufacture, Sub acostic technology, until recently F-111 fligh system, weapons intergration and life extending technologies.

      You truly have no clue Acotrel.

    • Trevor says:

      07:04am | 27/07/12

      It will be interesting to hear the regular conservatives bleat on about this when they are the ones who coined the phrase ‘to big to fail’.

      And of course the carbon tax will be to blame.

    • Denny says:

      08:42am | 27/07/12

      Grow up pal. Even Acotrel has kept o the topic. Most acknowledge that this is a failure across the whole political spectrum and your childish taunt is unwarranted.

    • Trevor says:

      01:38pm | 27/07/12

      The notion of ‘too big to fail’ is exactly why taxpayer funds get thrown at these car makers. Whether the rationale is to save jobs or prevent the ‘apparent’ collapse of the financial system is irrelevant. I am pointing out the hypocrisy of those who would just let these companies go to the wall under classical neo- liberal ideologies (survival of the fittest) yet see fit to throw trillions of taxpayer money at the banks merely because they claim that not to do so would threaten the world as we know it. So I am totally on topic, sorry that you don’t quite get it.

      Yeah the carbon tax jibe might be a bit childish, but any moreso than the arseclowns who repeat ‘Juliar’ ad nauseum?

    • acotrel says:

      07:05am | 27/07/12

      I own a Mazda 6 which is fitted with a six speed gearbox.  I don’t regret not buying an Australian made car, the Mazda is brilliant.  If Australia wants to compete, it must be on the basis of quality.  Improvements in cars have always come out of racing.  Why do we race V8 Supercars in Australia, when the average punter doesn’t want a car with that much swagger and weight ?  I believe my Mazda 6 was derived from the rally cars of the 90’s.  It is superb to drive, and extremely economical to run.  The six speed gearbox is OK in traffic, great on twisty roads.  But the car also has an excellent cruise control which suits it for highway use.
      The Australia car industry need more customer focus, and a different approach to competing in the globalised market place.

    • TimR says:

      09:05am | 27/07/12

      zoom zoom

    • Aussie Battler says:

      09:10am | 27/07/12

      I can’t believe I am saying this, but I found something that I agree with you on Acotrel.
      When we went looking for a new car, we checked all the local vehicles first and found them to be lacking in the quality side, compared to overseas vehicles. Test drove all the makes we could find in our price range and finished up with a Toyota Camry Hybrid, which I believe is manufactured overseas, but built here in Australia.

    • Tbird says:

      09:55am | 27/07/12

      Mazda 6 is the name current name for the Mazda 626. No rally history there…just a good well designed car.

    • NigelC says:

      10:18am | 27/07/12

      Mazda rallied 323s in the 90’s not 626’s which were the predecessor of the Mazda 6. Their rally foray was generally unsuccessful.
      Off topic but, I drove a Holden Cruze 1.8 with an auto for a few days last week on an interstate work trip and found it so grossly underpowered that it was a dangerous vehicle to drive. Even on the slightest hill, the transmission would hunt around for the right gear and acceleration was appaling. It became a bit of a joke in that I didn’t have to tell my passenger when I was accellerating (you certainly couldn’t feel it) because the increase in engine noise was a giveaway.

    • Mrniceguy351 says:

      04:40pm | 27/07/12

      We race V8 supercars because it draws huge crowds and lots of tv viewers.

    • Bertrand says:

      07:08am | 27/07/12

      I almost completely agree Penbo. Taxpayer funded bailouts of marginal industries are generally not a good thing, and generally don’t help save the industry in the long run anyway.

      I note that Caltex announced the closure of one of their Australian oil refineries yesterday, citing economic reasons. Some will blame the carbon tax, but to look only at that on thing is a bit narrow. Certainly, the increased costs associated with the tax may have contributed, but the Caltex management cited a high Australian dollar and economies of scale (their oil refineries in SE Asia can produce 10 times more because of the massive market in that part of the world). A taxpayer funded bailout of this operation would see the same failures as the ones you described in your article.

      But I don’t agree with your statement that “the impact of globalisation and the sheer impossibility of competing with Third World countries is a huge part of the challenge”.

      It is possible to compete with the 3rd word, just not on price. Germany remains one of the world’s most successful export economies, because they compete by producing quality high end technology. Australia’s manufacturing industry needs to shift towards producing world’s best product.

      Again, I raise the concept of serious and heavy investment in exportable green and renewable technologies. Surely, if the closure of Caltex’s oil refinery has shown us anything, it is that we are in a very precarious position when it comes to energy security. There is no reason we can’t become energy independent and, even a net energy exporter this century. Again, I look at Germany which on a good day can produce about 50% of its domestic electricity through solar power.

      Manufacturing still forms a huge part of our economy, but is becoming less viable as we continue to produce the same stuff as our Asian competitors. Too many people seem happy to let manufacturing wilt; however, once the mining boom inevitably ends, we are at a serious risk of catching the Dutch disease and ending up without a viable manufacturing sector to cushion the economic impact of a decline in mining income.

      I would add, that our continued refusal to use the massive profits from the mining boom to establish a sovereign wealth fund with heavy overseas investment is also a serious policy failure of both sides of politics, as this would have ensured that the benefit of the mining boom could continue when it finishes, and would have helped put downward pressure on our dollar and helped our other export sectors.

    • acotrel says:

      08:42am | 27/07/12

      ‘Again, I raise the concept of serious and heavy investment in exportable green and renewable technologies.’

      Our strengths lie in the creativity of our scientists and engineers.  Our ability to think outside the square and innovate.

    • iansand says:

      09:07am | 27/07/12

      How many German cars are actually built in Germany?  Your Merc is probably built in South Africa.  Your Audi in China.  Your VW in Mexico ....  They all have offshore plants.  It is just that Australian manufacturing costs are too high to be a viable location for offshore plants.

    • Big Jay says:

      09:10am | 27/07/12

      Good comment.

      I would like to add;
      - “we are at a serious risk of catching the Dutch disease” I think we’ve caught it already, its not terminal, but its VERY serious. Look at the demise of workers at in Auto Mfg, Food processing, Oil refinaries, aircraft maintenance, all getting hammered. Most of the time they are reasonably competitive, but with the exchange rate where it is, they aren’t.

      - “Surely, if the closure of Caltex’s oil refinery has shown us anything, it is that we are in a very precarious position when it comes to energy security” I think this is a massive understatement. The Shell refinery at Clyde is also on the way out, no refining capabilitiy in NSW now, with other states likely to follow.

      - “our continued refusal to use the massive profits from the mining boom to establish a sovereign wealth fund with heavy overseas investment is also a serious policy failure of both sides of politics” True!...I would go further and say the political/economic alternative to this is using the huge sums of money in Super to start buying and developing assets overseas, but corporates aren’t terribly interested in this either.

      Most of our issues seem to be stemming from the exchange rate issue. We (I blame all of us for this, voters, politicians and business) have managed it badly, we might be able to fix it, or it might fix itself, with more unemployment - lower interest rates - lower exhange rate.

    • L. says:

      01:26pm | 27/07/12

      “How many German cars are actually built in Germany?”

      I think most..

      Golf is, while Polo is built in S/Africa.

      BMW Xx and Merc ML SUV’s were built in Alabama last I read, as were the BMW ‘Z’ coupes.

      Depends upon model and the target market.

    • Gordon says:

      04:04pm | 27/07/12

      Bought a name-brand power sander last w/end: it’s bloody good, high tech and has “Made in Germany” stamped proudly on the handle. I think our problem has a lot to do with generations of crap decision-making on both sides of the industrial relations, and a general failure of Aussies to invest in anything more complex than a scratchie. Be it green tech or coal mining, if the investment money comes from somebody else they will take home the dividends.

    • AdamC says:

      04:32pm | 27/07/12

      Actually, according to this list ( the Germans still make quite a lot of cars. In fact, they are the only one of the traditional big three producing countries (the others being te US and Japan) to have increased production in recent years.

      That is no doubt due to a combination of the Euro single currency system and the Germans’ apparently inherent comparative advantage in precision manufacturing. Other Euro-area vehicle producing countries like France and Italy have been slammed.

      How can we replicate that Teutonic mixture of efficiency and discipline here in Oz, though?

    • P. Walker says:

      07:11am | 27/07/12

      ....and now we will be at the mercy of Asia for refuelling our vehicles.  Imagine if we were at war with one of our neighbours and the fuel didn’t arrive for our Defence.
      But I expect most cars have reached a bench mark (leave China out for 10 years) whereby we don’t need to replace them as often.  In fact I believe most people have slowed down because they are content with what they have unless there is a more efficient model at an afforable price.

    • Justme says:

      07:15am | 27/07/12

      I’ve never understood why the car industry gets massive hand outs. If a company isn’t keeping up with what the market wants, let it dig itself out of the hole. Why encourage them to continue with a bad business plan by throwing millions of dollars at them?

      In almost every other endeavor in life, the process of natural selection app,use. So why not here?

      And why, when the inevitable closure occurs, do the staff get huge hand outs, assistance packages for retraining, funds for job seeking assistance etc.

      We employed a former car industry redeployee in our small engineering business and the amount of stuff he could claim for from the redeployment fund even months after leaving was ridiculous -from counselling to cope with the trauma to training courses, to tools to make him more attractive to a prospective employer.

      Yet other people whose employer shuts the door get only their legal entitlements (super, annual leave etc) paid out and and a severance form to take to Centrelink.

      Why are people who work for car manufacturers such a protected and nurtured bunch?

    • nihonin says:

      08:49am | 27/07/12

      ‘I’ve never understood why the car industry gets massive hand outs.’

      Helps keep the unions funded.

    • John says:

      09:44am | 27/07/12

      ”  ‘I’ve never understood why the car industry gets massive hand outs.’

        Helps keep the unions funded.”

      Of course. This would explain the massive subsidies given to the industry by the Howard Government and the promise by the Abbott Opposition that they will continue supporting the industry.

    • acotrel says:

      09:55am | 27/07/12

      ‘Helps keep the unions funded. ‘

      And all the workers who depend on their jobs to pay mortgages and feed and educate their kids so they can get good jobs in those industries.  As well as in the hanger-on professions such as accountancy and IT and teaching !
      Are we about to spiral into the deck at the first signs of any real competition ?  The high Aussie dollar will be around until our economy collapses, and then our businesses will be able to operate in a better environment ??? Get real !

    • acotrel says:

      09:59am | 27/07/12

      I seriously believe that we have no choice except to make a fight of it, as far as the car industry and our manufactirung generally are concerned.  If we are to go down, we should at least go down fighting.

    • Kev says:

      05:46pm | 27/07/12

      I don’t get it either. Businesses go belly up every day and the government doesn’t intervene with special handouts and assistance packages to help workers so why does the manufacturing industry deserve this? Let the manufacturing sector stand on its own two feet and if it’s not good enough to flourish without government handouts then so be it.

    • Barman says:

      07:37am | 27/07/12

      Yeah I want to fly a rocket to work.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:00am | 27/07/12

      Yet another first-world country - Germany - has thriving car manufacturers.

      Why?  Because they use their superior technological ability and standard of living to produce higher-end cars for upmarket demographics, leaving the third-world country to produce entry level, economic cars.

      How hard is it to understand?  We are not big enough to mass-produce, and we pay our people more than third world countries do.

      Yet we still try to compete on that lowest common denominator level. 

      Acotrel is going to have a field day with this.

    • acotrel says:

      08:32am | 27/07/12

      Have I got a convert, or were you already there ? Would you buy a truckload of shit because it was cheap ?
      A lot of this stuff comes down to definition.  The common definition of the term ‘quality’ is ‘fit for purpose’.  A better definition is ‘fit for purpose with obvious attention to detail’.  Neither definition really addresses why the German product is better. You might be able to buy Chinese product with quality certification under ISO 9000 systems.  It might fit a certain purpose and be really cheap.  But what purpose are we talking about when the product is intended to be thrown away after a short period and replaced with another piece of garbage ?

    • John F says:

      08:32am | 27/07/12

      Badge engineering and low export is part of the problem, Holden exports but they change the name to Vauxhaul in the UK which is a bit like buying a BMW in OZ with a Skoda badge or how about we import the Corvette and call that a Holden instead of a Chev ? it’s an insult to people who are enthusiasts of the product. Mean wile why isnt Ford exporting the Falcon ? Because Detroit says they cant ! Its outside influences from the USA that have prevented our car industry from being a world player. In the case of the A380 I blame the bean counters for compromising a good car by making it front wheel drive instead of all wheel drive which would have given it an edge over the local competition. Germany has their own world class car industry that isnt ruled by a foreign owner and it thrives because of it. Our industry is nobbled because of its parent companys dictating the markets they can and cant compete in.

    • MD says:

      09:11am | 27/07/12

      Most ‘German’ cars are not built in Germany.

    • acotrel says:

      10:03am | 27/07/12

      Most ‘German’ cars are not built in Germany. ‘

      The Germans are still winners.  We should do what we have to do to get up there with them. My feeling is that we should work on the system to improve how we do things.

    • Ripa says:

      10:13am | 27/07/12

      “and we pay our people more than third world countries do.”

      Yep after holdens 250 million helping hand theyre raising wages by 22%, i read somewhere the average wage at holden is over 90k.
      would like to know if anyone can confirm it.

    • Tubesteak says:

      08:15am | 27/07/12

      A recent interview on Inside Business with the local head of GM showed that car companies shop around nations for the best deal. In other words, which country is going to give them the biggest hand-out.

      It’s time to stop pandering to the past and nationalism and let these companies go.

      Our local prices are already inflated far beyond what we should be paying. This is because of the market distortions that such protectionism brings. Car dealers have already acknowledged that cars are priced according to what the local market is willing to absorb. This means a large mark-up because Australian consumers have been conditioned to pay $30-40k for something that costs a third of that in the US or UK.

      I understand that no government wants to be on the watch when the last car manufacturer leaves this country but it’s inevitable and it should happen.

      Another thing that should be allowed is parallel imports. This is another thing needlessly protecting our market and propping up prices far beyond what they need to be.

      All countries should concentrate on areas where they have a comparative advantage. For Australia, we are in a growing region where demand for professional services in a stable country with advanced financial and legal systems we can and should concentrate on this. Not pandering to some simplistic and jingoistic leftover of the 19th century.

    • John F says:

      09:23am | 27/07/12

      For Australia, we are in a growing region where demand for professional services in a stable country with advanced financial and legal systems we can and should concentrate on this.
      Your shitting me ! Australian exports from behind a computer !  These industries are actualy the source of many of our problems. If you cant hold it, it has little value !

    • Big Jay says:

      10:04am | 27/07/12

      I’m with John F - “we are in a growing region where demand for professional services in a stable country with advanced financial and legal systems we can and should concentrate on this”

      Tubesteak makes a lot of good points but I don’t think this is one of them. Most coutries in our region have VERY different ideas of what a legal and financial framework should look like (I’m sure Tubesteak knows this). We need an industrial base, and innovation and technology in this area is what we should concentrate on (not so much mass production).

      This strategy of focus on financial/legal services hasn’t worked out well for Britain, USA (unless you’re the CEO), or Japan. It works OK for tax havens like Singapore, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

    • Big Jay says:

      10:10am | 27/07/12

      Oh yeah, forgot about Infrastructure. A lot of countries have minerals, farm capacity and reasonably smart people, what they don’t have is stable politics/societal life, railroads, highways, dams, pipes, ports, power generation/distribution, communications and so on.

    • Tubesteak says:

      11:31am | 27/07/12

      John F and Big Jay
      You two are both living in the past.
      For a start google “Barbienomics”. Most of the value from a Barbie Doll comes from owning the IP, not manufacturing it.
      “If you can’t hold it, it has little value” - this just shows your complete and utter ignorance.
      Let low cost nations make it. We’ll sell the intellectual know-how to run the company and the stability of a system designed around this construct.
      Most of our problems come from trying to distort the market to protect the jobs of lazy dullards, not from finance or legal industries
      Most money now comes from financial and professional services. Trying to compete against low-cost manufacturing countries is pointless and futile. Especially for Australia which will never convince the world that a Falcodore is better than a Mercedes/BMW or that AWA TVs are better than Samsung/Pioneer/Sony.
      Play to your strengths. We have a large superannuation industry that is well established and stable. Our structures are well-known in our region and are in the process of being updated (see review of CIVs). We can use this to spearhead this into the rest of Asia. Stop living in the 19th century. Those days are over.

    • John F says:

      12:07pm | 27/07/12

      @ Tubesteak, its your kind of thinking that has gotten us were we are today. Finacial services (imaginary money to buy stuff we cant afford and don’t need) Superanuation (a whole bunch of parasites making money off our contibutions that WILL run out before we die)
      I sit behind a computer at work, I also make things, very complicated GPS equipment and a product called Locata (look it up it’s the US air forces new high accuracy positioning system) This equipment is for the mining industry not just Australia but the whole world. Do you understand why the mining industry exists ??? TO MAKE THINGS !!!
      Food is also stuff we make, the computer you are using is something that is made. China is where it is because of manufacturing mean wile we have people who cant even identify a model of screwdriver telling us the future is in playing with money on a computer. I cant believe your serious, your joking right and I have fallen for it.

    • Confused Fuddy Duddy says:

      12:09pm | 27/07/12

      Your comment “Most of the value from a Barbie Doll comes from owning the IP, not manufacturing it”
      “”“If you can’t hold it, it has little value” - this just shows your complete and utter ignorance.”
      The IP would be worthless if the product had no value. If there was no Barbie Doll. What value would a domain of the same name have?
      Now what was your argument?
      Don’t confuse business acumen with utter ignorance. Else someone may accuse you of the same.

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:20pm | 27/07/12

      John F
      You clearly aren’t intelligent enough to figure it out so I’ll make it simple for you:
      Let the cheap people make it for $2 per day. We’ll manage the process and finance it and pay ourselves 6 figure salaries after we sell it to ourselves and other nations. It’s a self-sustaining cycle as long as you pick the market demand correctly.
      Finance isn’t imaginary. Your super contributions won’t run out before you die if you contribute enough to fund your lifestyle.
      This may require vision but it’s far better than sending bad money after bad money just to prop up an inefficient industry that causes inflated prices in the domestic economy.

    • John F says:

      12:46pm | 27/07/12

      @ Tubesteak, yeah make Barbie Dolls in a third world country for 50c ($2 you must be joking) Australia should be building world class cars, world class ships, world class medical equipment etc etc. If you dont make something (I will include the services of doctors, teachers etc) then you are a parasite of the system. Why do accounts etc have such an inflated view of their worth ? I can never understand why they get paid so much for following rules. They create NOTHING ! They have no imagination or vision and they destroy companies. Accountants and lawyers, the 2 most useless profeshions in the world !

    • Ben C says:

      02:01pm | 27/07/12

      @ John F

      Big call there. As long as you’re happy to pay more tax than you need to, or you’re happy to represent yourself when a contract goes sour.

    • James1 says:

      02:16pm | 27/07/12

      Just because you can’t understand what Tubesteak is talking about., doesn’t mean he is wrong.  You might not be able to see the value in these sorts of professions, but they are highly paid for a reason, and that reason is that the market values the services they provide.  And it is hard to argue with the invisible hand of the market - it doesn’t give a shit if a physical thing is made or not, it only cares what consumers and other users of various products and services are willing to pay for said products and services.

      It is the height of oversimplification to assume that if you are not making something you can hold, you aren’t really doing anything.

    • Australia 4 Sale? says:

      04:51pm | 27/07/12

      You need a long term strategy and you need focus. We have to become the control in the region and not let countries like Singapore or even Indonesia call the shots. either we control or become slaves, they are already buying us out, hell Singapore almost bought our whole freaking stock exchange. We should be afraid, they will control and own us unless we make the changes needed. Unions are not doing right by their workers, in looking for the next pay rise they are working themselves out of a job. we need National pride and a strategy, we will never get that from a Gillard government.

    • Hossak says:

      08:34am | 27/07/12

      Make all these old industrial sites into tourist spots! Everyone should be a bed-maker and meal-taker! What a life….

    • Vince says:

      10:15am | 27/07/12

      Or a place to call home for Asylum Seekers?

    • Bomb78 says:

      12:56pm | 27/07/12

      Didn’t one of the banks take over a former Mitsubishi site for a few hundred back office drones in the 90’s? Maybe they’ve shipped those jobs offshore now…

    • acotrel says:

      08:37am | 27/07/12

      ‘Yet we still try to compete on that lowest common denominator level. ‘

      I never have a ‘just lie down and die’ approach to any problem ! We are Australian, and we should face our challenges as Australians have always done.

    • marley says:

      10:29am | 27/07/12

      That means going forward, acotrel, not filling the moat and pulling up the drawbridge.

    • Ho hum says:

      08:42am | 27/07/12

      The vacant Mitsubishi site is a lasting monument to the political leadership of Mike Rann, along with the promise of a mining boom that has been just around the corner for 10yrs and a huge State Gov debt.  Its proof that under an ALP Gov, if you want a small business, just start with a big one and wait for a couple of years.

    • Suzanne says:

      09:14am | 27/07/12

      We are loosing so mucg manufacturing and now oil refinery that we have a serious National Security issue.  If a war breaks out, we are TOAST

      Gillard wake up

    • Jacob says:

      09:40am | 27/07/12

      That’s a mighty big “if”

    • AdamC says:

      11:37am | 27/07/12

      Suzanne, I doubt the next war will be fought with unpopular, six-cylinder family sedans.

      However, I agree there could be merit in Australia making a list of strategic industries it may like to protect for non-economic reasons. That seems better than basing protectionism measures solely on companies’ lobbying abilities.

    • Hamish says:

      11:45am | 27/07/12

      AdamC, Gillard does have a list…of Unions (and associated heavy industries) she needs to keep happy.

    • Andy Mack says:

      05:07pm | 27/07/12

      Suzanne, Australia is intentionally being sold down the river.  Many federal and state politicians are Freemasons.  Julia Gillard is probably a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, which is the comparable occult organisation for females.

    • S.L says:

      09:15am | 27/07/12

      Mitsubishi made one fatal mistake. They built a full sized front wheel drive car which Australian drivers have never accepted. As soon as I heard the specs for the 380 I knew it would bomb!
      Full sized sedans are prefered to be rear wheel drive in this market but car companies like Mitsubishi with highly paid marketing people never saw the writing on the wall…........................

    • acotrel says:

      09:46am | 27/07/12

      The proof of the pudding is always in the eating.  If you cannot race it, that in itself means something.  Nobody wants to buy a racing car,  however nobody wants to buy something which is poorly developed, from a stupid initial concept.

    • Big Jay says:

      09:57am | 27/07/12

      @S.L - These “highly paid marketing people” never cease to amaze me. A few years ago (like 2-3), someone from Ford was saying to the business press at ABC that Australian don’t really want big cars (ie. Falcons and Commodores) which was total BS because SUV’s/4WD’s sales were at record highs!...They were just building the wrong big cars.

    • ibast says:

      11:30am | 27/07/12

      They kept saying right to the end that Australians had learned to like small FWDs so they would learn to like big FWD.

      Just like Ford has been saying right to the end that the Falcon doesn’t need to be lighter and doesn’t have any quality problems.

    • David of Adelagado. says:

      08:24pm | 27/07/12

      SL.. The 380 wasn’t a ‘full-sized front wheel’ drive. It was no bigger than the Magna which was a medium sized front wheel drive and hugely successful for most of its life. Mitsubishi had a loyal fan base to build on but they blew it.

    • Anubis says:

      09:26am | 27/07/12

      And the other tax-payer funded industry bailout that should be stopped is the Health Insurance subsidy. What a con this is. Every year the industry increases its premiums and every year the tax payer forks out more and more in the subsidy. At the same time hospitals are starving for funds while the Insurance industry rakes in the billions. Add to that the ageist discrimination that has been legislated into this industry and it is a disgusting example of Government distorting the market.

    • acotrel says:

      10:05am | 27/07/12

      I believe that some political parties must have friends in the insurance industry.

    • James Mathews says:

      09:47am | 27/07/12

      Well there are plans for this site but it depends on whether they’ll ever get off the ground,  This link will go to a video on The Advertisers website - AdelaideNow
      There would be a lot of doubt in the mind of people living down there to whether it’ll ever get built.

      Twitter: BigJamesMathews

    • Mark out West says:

      09:49am | 27/07/12

      We are the Lucky and Dumb country because Howard spent all our money from the start of the mining boom on middle class welfare.  That enabled the 30’s something couples able to afford that formal dinning rooms and theatre rooms that they hardly use.
      It is easy to spend money on present day technology as a way of preserving jobs, it is hard to spend money on education and innovation.
      All the big companies can do is pull up stumps and go to some poor country and pay their workers nothing.
      Australians and are Lucky they were born here but Dumb by P*SSING up against the wall their advantage,

    • chuck says:

      09:53am | 27/07/12

      Overpaid , bloated expat executives trying to tell local consumers what they shall have not asking what they want. The writing was on the wall 20 years ago and unfortunately the poor buggers on the shop floor are now bearing the brunt AND ultimately the Australian society.
      We could however use the Mitsy site, the Ford site, the Nissan site, the Caltex site etc as holding centres for ILLEGAL immigrants.

    • rod sexton says:

      10:18am | 27/07/12

      Meanwhile, Ford has just opened a $500 million facility in Thailand; and we are paying towards it.

    • BruceS says:

      10:38am | 27/07/12

      Thank you David. I would just like to say that we do have a stategic industrial capability requirement that must be met, without destructive union grandstanding.

    • AdamC says:

      10:41am | 27/07/12

      The underlying problem is that the Australian economy is simply not competitive, especially our manufacturing and industrial sectors. It is not simply a matte of high wages, either. For example, much of the petrol that will replace the supply from Caltex’s closed Sydney refining plant will come from refineries in Singapore. Despite many Australians’ assumptions about Asia, Singapore is a high income country at least comparable with Australia on measures of development and wage levels.

      The real, structural problems we have in Australia are excessive taxation and regulations which stifle investment. These are especially fearsome for industrial firms, who typically find even brownfield developments are bitterly opposed. The Gunns pulp mill is a good example of a develoopment within an existing industrial area that was stillborn largely because of a nightmarish steeplechase of regulatory requirements and political interference.

      Any industrial firm which clears these hurdles can then look forward to high rates of taxation and being pushed around by union heavies, among others. No wonder the government needs to lavish special treatment on favoured sectors just to keep them around. Heaven forbid they might consider making things easier for everyone.

    • St. Michael says:

      01:25pm | 27/07/12

      Quite right.  Note that part of that regulation includes the award system as a whole, or as I like to think of it, the domestic tariff system for Australian industry.

    • David of Adelagado says:

      11:07am | 27/07/12

      Mitsubishi may have been doomed but they sure hastened their demise with the 380, the dullest looking vehicle released in Australia in 50 years. Designed to fail perhaps?

      A vehicle Australia should produce is a basic, rural orientated, 4WD ute/traytop work vehicle for the farming and mining industry to compete with the Lancruiser/Hilux. (You see countless of these Toyotas when you get out of the city). Such a vehicle doesn’t have to be luxurious and complicated. Farmers just want something thats tough, very reliable, and good value with a wide dealer network. Maybe Ford and Holden should get together to build one. It would be a better place to stuff taxpayers money than into Falcons.

    • ibast says:

      11:33am | 27/07/12

      the 380 wasn’t too bad, it was just too late.  It was the odd looking model before (the CL?) and years of smoky 4 cylinders, that killed Bitsamissin off.

    • John F says:

      12:13pm | 27/07/12

      I like that idea David, it’s a good one !

    • St. Michael says:

      01:34pm | 27/07/12

      There’s nothing wrong with the 380 mechanically.  I own one and put it this way, I see a lot more big-arsed Holdens and Commodires stopped by the side of the road than I do 380s.  Indeed I see a lot more Holdens and Commodores stopped by the side of the road than I do Mitsubishi Magnas or Camiras in general; you do get the feeling that because it was their last throw of the dice, Mitsubishi did put their best attempt into the 380 in terms of parts quality and reliability.

      Where it does fall down is that the design: the boot door is tiny and the rear window is like a Japanese pillbox on Okinawa.  Not to mention that they decided not to do a station wagon version of it, which meant no family in its right mind would buy one.  Whether it was a big stonking V8 doesn’t matter: unless you are a fool who never got over his petrolhead days, if you have a family you don’t buy the car with the quickest acceleration or the highest speed in the world.

    • Yak says:

      01:34pm | 27/07/12

      David for CEO.

      Seeing firsthand the amount of cash mining companies spend on these vastly over-priced Toyota’s, there is definitely a market for a robust Ute without all the frills. A $70,000 Land-Cruiser lasts about 90,000k’s in this industry.

      The local OKA was a great 4WD vehicle that is still used to cross the Great Sandy Desert, etc, by Tourist Operators, but was too big for your average minesite. A smaller version would have been great.

      If you could make one for about $40,000, they would fly out the door.

    • Wayne says:

      07:24pm | 27/07/12

      What about the Leyland P76. Probably one of the most crappy designs

    • David of Adelagado. says:

      08:07pm | 27/07/12

      Ibast and Michael.  My current Magna wagon and Pajero each have over well 300,000 ks on the clock so I have no complaints about Mitsubishi quality. There are lots of very happy Magna owners around who were looking forward to the 380.  But the design was a shocker. Looks do count, and it was just sooo boring. Didnt they show it to anyone beforehand? If they had just put a little bit of a flare into the wheel arches for example it would have looked pretty hot. (Like a slightly smaller Commodore.) And that motor!!! What were they thinking?

    • Leigh says:

      11:16am | 27/07/12

      Rann asked for the $50m back, did he? Did Mitsubishi give it back? Asking is one thing, receiving is another altogether.

      Australians would all be better off if ALL cars we buy were imported. The workers who lost their jobs could be employed in all the new ‘green’ areas taxpayers are also paying for - couldn’t they; or is that just another political con job of the kind practised for years by both Labor and Coalition?

      Our idiot politicians have allowed smaller manufacturing to go overseas (cheap labour, but we still pay top dollar when the results are sent back here), but they use our money to prop up inefficient and gormless car makers whose products cost us more than do the imported ones. How wacky is that!

    • Anjuli says:

      11:37am | 27/07/12

      Then there was Kevin Rudd who gave ,was it Toyota 35 million they did not want but he gave it to them anyway.
      It would be interesting to compare cars made in Australia to those built in Europe to see how they withstand the harsh winter roads and the salt they use to DE ice.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      12:05pm | 27/07/12

      Australia shouldn’t have dismantled tariff barriers. One of the few things Keating got wrong…..

    • Chris says:

      02:15pm | 27/07/12

      Shane you are correct… if only those tariff’s were still there then we would be paying 60k for a basic Falcon and foreign cars would be totally unaffordable and there would be tens of thousands of overpaid blokes wearing blue singlets to work each day working in old out of date factories using and developing skills that would be out of date everywhere else in the world.
      It would be teriffic - a real win win for everybody especially consumers.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      02:38pm | 27/07/12

      Bugger the consumers. Job security is number one. Ask anyone in the United States and Europe. Free Trade is a zero sum game and level playing field is a myth cooked up by economists…...

    • AdamC says:

      02:57pm | 27/07/12

      Shane, I just do not see how you can argue this. Is there even any evidence that protectionist policies actually improve job security? The Australian experience would tend to contradict that thesis.

    • Chris says:

      03:29pm | 27/07/12

      Job Security!!!  Your kidding… that is the irony of the whole thing… protectionism is what has created these big fat companies that just do what they do regardless of what the market wants…

      And these big fat companies are what are closing down.

      There are NO SECURE JOBS in Uncompetitive companies… it is impossible. The best you can do is offer reasonably secure jobs in competitive companies - and only for so long as those companies remain competitive.

    • Gordon says:

      04:17pm | 27/07/12

      Setting up trade walls helped turn the first Wall St crash into the Great Depression. Better to keep the money flowing even if it goes bloody hard for many people.

    • Against the Man says:

      04:54pm | 27/07/12

      Somethinh has to give, you can’t please everyone.

    • Stephen says:

      12:09pm | 27/07/12

      I look forward to the time when all aussie car workers are out of jobs and hopefully then we can have some of our stupid car duties lowered so we don’t have to pay 2x what the Americans pay for the same damn car.

      Why did the car workers not take a huge pay cut when the company needed money from the government just to stay afloat?  Ohh yes because the unions would jump up and down.  The unions are part of the problem those workers were overpaid no doubt.

    • Roy says:

      12:49pm | 27/07/12

      @Stephen Your comments are absurd. I worked for Mitsubishi and (Chrysler previously) for 31 years and can tell you that when we were producing Sigmas and Galants we were going gangbusters and couldn’t keep up with demand. Then some bright spark decided we needed to compete with Holden and Ford to produce bigger cars which was the beginning of the end. The last straw was of course the 380 which was a good car but just didn’t suit the buyers who all seem to be Holden/Ford nuts. All governments around the world subsidise their car industries. And you answer is to cut wages, would you take a pay cut that severe? Would you have us work for $10 an hour or less? Wages were (and still are) less than 5% of total costs to companies. We asked the parent company in Japan if we could produce the Lancer which is a best seller still but were refused. That was our demise. You can dance on our graves if you wish but it still isn’t stopping all the jobs going overseas because companies are forever chasing bigger profits for their shareholders.

    • John F says:

      01:34pm | 27/07/12

      Spot on Roy, as I said above the biggest issue for Australian car manufacturers is the fact that parent company’s like Ford and GMC control what our industry can and can’t do. The German car manufacturers do control their products and they have done a great job regardless of SOME models being built in other countries. Like I also said F@#KING accountants who’s only interest is short term finacial reward have destroyed industries because of their lack of vishion and imagination. Can you imagine how different for instance the A380 could have been had it had a 4WD and or turbo variant that would have been the flagship ? Some moron accountant in league with a marketing muppet decided that a large car being FWD would be of no consiquince to the average car buyer. DOH !!!!

    • James1 says:

      02:27pm | 27/07/12

      But when you made those Sigmas, you weren’t competing with anyone internationally because the government massively inflated the domestic price of cars through the application of a tariff on imported cars.  The demand that you had to keep up with was artificial, as you were competing in a marketplace that was limited by government policy.  This was damaging for people purchasing cars, because it meant they had to pay nearly double what non-auto tariff country consumers did.  And all so a few thousand people could keep their jobs, rather than find jobs in a different industry.

      The answer is not to cut wages or anything like that.  The answer is to import cars from where they are cheaper, allow our auto manufacturing to go out of business, and allow the workers in that industry to find jobs elsewhere.  Everyone will be better off for it, because we will all pay less for cars. 

      And John F, the people who work in the auto industry are the ones that are sacrificing the interests of every car-buying Australian for their own personal short term financial gain. Historically, we have paid too much for car due to tariffs, which had the sole and explicit intention of propping up an uncompetitive industry.  The process you decry is largely the result of the removal of these tariffs, which expose Australian built cars as being inefficient and uncompetitive (when it comes to price) compared to countries with a comparative advantage in this area, like Japan, South Korea and Germany.  Throwing money at it, or propping it up by distorting international trade, costs every Australian.

    • chris says:

      01:50pm | 27/07/12

      Add this to what is happening in construction at the moment and a theme starts to emerge…
      Big Australian companies that hire lots of union labour are proving slow and globally uncompetitive and going broke…
      Great news as far as I am concerned… all those Union workers will lose their job, that means less unionists…
      A lot of them will get jobs with small versatile firms or even just take their trade and start working for themselves… whatever they do there is a big chance they will not go back to a union shop as union shops are increasingly rare and in any case are not competitive so are not growing and hiring.
      It is great news for the economy, great news for the politics of this country and great news for the workers themselves

    • Richard says:

      03:43pm | 27/07/12

      In order to have a strong manufacturing industry in Australia, the government needs to get OUT of the way, the unions need to get OUT of the way. Governments handing public money to private concerns should be simply NOT ON. Picking winners and paying corporations is not the way to conduct a government, EVER.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      04:39pm | 27/07/12

      So Tony Abbott’s Direct Action policy is out then? Good thing we don’t have bail out the banks like the United States, Britain and Spain did…...

    • Jacx says:

      04:57pm | 27/07/12

      This country needs to get its act together. I always blame the government of the day. If the ALP can’t get their own internal politics right bugger the country. Election NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Richard says:

      06:06pm | 27/07/12

      Well Shane, since you ask, I do oppose parts of the Direct Action policy, just like I opposed the bank bailouts in America and Britain. But when you compare Direct Action to the Carbon Tax/ ETS, its clear that Direct Action is superior. Because at least DA will only see $1B per year spent, which is fixed and capped, as opposed to the Carbon Tax/ETS, which will see tens of billions of dollars being shipped off overseas to “Carbon Cowboys” in India and China every year by 2015, all for no real reduction in total Australia-wide endogenous carbon emissions at all!

    • Babylon in Canberra says:

      06:58pm | 27/07/12

      What we need is Swan to get off his arse and do his job. He’s never once tried to tackle the high Aussie dollar, or regulate the banks.

      And we all know from Rudd, that the Labor party believes manufacturing belongs to the Third World, which by extension implies the working man belongs on Benefits.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      04:48pm | 27/07/12

      Tut! Tut! Penbo!
      You have the unutterable gall to state the F#$%^&g Obvious! Something, in particular, the Motor Vehicle Unions, the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers & our Glorious, Fiscally & Economically Responsible Federal & State ALP Government’s have all refused to acknowledge for years!
      It all started back in 1973 (You are probably far too young to remember) when the Suez Crisis hit. The price of oil went, at the time, through the roof. People started demanding small, compact, fuel-efficient cars. Volkswagen had always obliged & Japan soon followed suit! At that time, Australians were still having a romance with the fuel-guzzling Falcons & Holdens. Gradually common-sense started to come rushing in & we (the Customers) started to stop buying those Falcons & Holdens. We started buing those smart little cars. Then Mitsubishi (MMA) started whingeing & the SA & Federal Government’s started pouring in money, seemingly without insisting MMA actually produce a small, compact fuel-efficient car.They produced the Lemon of Lemons. At the time I was FleetSA (Govt. Cars) co-ordinator for a part of an SA Govt. Department. The Government had the power to order us to only buy this MMA 380 but they didn’t have the guts to do so. One test drive was enough! This fuel-guzzling tank had more blind spots than a Dalmation has spots! It was one of the worst cars I have ever driven. I simply did not bother to order them. having poured all those millions in MMA still shut up shop. Personally I think MMA deliberately produced the 380 tank & probably at the behest of Tokyo who had long-since decided they wanted to close MMA, were concentrating on local manufacture & looking seriously at those two Low Wage countries for future cheaper production. It stood to reason for they, rightly, saw bigger profits.
      I think Ford & GM-Holden are doing exactly the same as Mitsubishi.
      They are getting unconditional hand-outs. They persist in bringing new Falcons & Commodores onto the market. A market which simply doesn’t want them. behind the scenes the parent companies are probably building, or have already built, brand new state-of-the-art factories in China & India. When up & running, 2016 is just 4 years away & that is when, we are told, Australian government’s bailouts are to cease, they will do exactly as MMA did & announce that it is no longer financially viable for them to produce cars in Australia.
      Conspiracy theory? Maybe
      Why would anyone build a car in Australia which they can build for half the price elsewhere?
      All thes cash hand-outs are only putting off the evil day. Why not do it now when so many of those excellent tradesmen are still young enough to get re-trained & a new job?? In 4 years many of them will be considerd too old.
      The pollies don’t care because most of them will be living the life of Flynn on their huge Parliamentary Pensions’n'Perks and if questioned will simply say:
      “It’s not MY responsibility”

    • Wayne says:

      07:35pm | 27/07/12

      Reading some of the comments above, the issue of quality products has nothing to do with where it is made. It is the design, and specifications of the parts and assembled product. A product can be of the same quality whether it is made in China, Korea. India or wherever. This being the case the only difference is price. We can never compete on price, so the writing is on the wall. Somebody I know imported a 4 wheeled motor bike from the USA, exactly the same as can be purchased here, for roughly 60% of the local price including all import costs, freight, duties and taxes. The warranty is a world wide warranty so we are talking apples for apples. In many instances we seem to be getting ripped off if we purchase from a local supplier. This is also be true for other goods and services eg technical drawings etc supplied over the internet from overseas, music downloads, CDs etc.

    • Ron says:

      10:53pm | 27/07/12

      A big problem is the lack of critical mass in Australia- the Australian market is tiny . Given the equipment & technology that they have to work with I think Holden and Ford create a great product but there isn’t much incentive for further investment when the market is so small.

    • SteveK says:

      11:17am | 28/07/12

      Of course when people talk of bail outs people jump on the old chestnut that labor do it to keep Unions on side, but when it comes to bail outs for companies we should remember John Howards bailout of his brothers textile compnay

    • Dale says:

      05:10am | 07/08/12

      I beaten the game a long time ago on Xbox, seems that Xbox has a scpieal feature, when you have Xbox LIVE, you can download characters such as Rod Torque’ Redline, Victor Hugo, The Queen, Uncle Toplino, and more. (Also if you buy the Xbox game at Walmart, there is a code where you can get 2 downloadable characters!)

    • Omar says:

      12:33pm | 07/08/12

      if your good with a paint gun,,and good at body work you can do it your self,,but buying the right sadners ,and having the right equipment to work with it real important ,,if you don’t have this stuff,it will show up in your work,,you have to have the right tools and know how to use them,,good luck hope this help,s.


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The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



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