And now the $AU is falling (or more that the Greenback is on the ascendency).
10 years When was the Aussie automotive industry truly viable? They have had generous pay and conditions for decades and one by one manufacturers have called it a day during the past three decades (P76 anyone... needing to move a 44 gal drum that is). Ford joins the list.
Anyone noticing the demise of our fruit growing sector - trees being ripped up with a 15 year lead time to replant and become productive again.
The USD has to go up for some time (years) before manufacures will again get confidence. $AUD is dropping because of commodity prices. Hopefully foreign money markets will start to pull out of Aussie to jump ship so to speak while its good and push Aussie down more. We need a lower dollar big time!
The free trade agreement with Thailand is only a minor issue. its not like the focus is just imported to Australia. there are much larger markets to buy that car. Australian car manufacturing will only suceed if you can export. The Falcon was not exported, the Territory was briefly exported to Sth Africa. Ford also has the Edge which is bloody close to the Territory so the market was limited.
The middle east has alot of Commodore's, they love them. Cheap, large powerful cars. Some brains trust posted here and I have seen similar posts in paper about Falcon/Commodore not being up to standard of European cars. I challenged that poster to nominate a larger 4L car from Europe selling for a similar price, there was no respond for one reason. There isn't one!
But the problem for Australia, few other countries want such large cars. They neither have the money to run them, streets are too cluttered to drive and park them and/or fuel prices are way to high. Unfortunately Australian car manufacturing built itself into a corner, it relied heavily on local sales with very limted export potential apart from Nth America and Middle east. European's won't buy large cars, they cannot park them, and if they have the space, a BMW will be there because the money needed to have that space. German's are very patriotic in buying there cars, one of few places I found it hard to find a Toyota. The Falcon/Commodore were a "nice" market that has changed, high $A, high fuel prices and more affluence meant more people buying something else. Even the govt stopped buying local cars.
The Toyota Aurion boomed for a while at the Falcon's expense, but now thats not even selling and maybe Toyota may chop this model, but its a version of the Camry so not such a big deal. At least the Camry is now more popular size and far more exportable to a larger market, although there are quite a number of Camry assembly lines, so we are competing against those production lines as well.
The US govt has forced GM to stop overseas design as part of bailout package, hence the demise of the Commodore. I think we have done well to keep the small car Holden Cruze assembly line they have as this died in Australia in 90's when the small car market was flooded with numeous models and low prices. GM will replace the Commodore with a global platform 4 cyl car, we have done well to get this as well and Toyota's ongoing commitment.
Ford is dying across the market in Australia and the loss of the Falcon is just the tip of their iceberg issues.
We cannot blame high housing prices for high salaries, people will always borrow as much as they can to buy that bigger and better house. High housing prices come from high salaries and people funding houses on two salaries not one. If teh govt tomorrow said only one salary can be used to finance a house, the market would crash and along the way crash thousands with it before it recovered. We can also only blame ourselves for the loss of the car maufacturing. If you don't have one of the Australian made models in the garage, you are as much part of the problem as the workers about to loose their jobs (For the record I've had an Aussie made car in my garage for last 20 years, living out of Australia now, I still do. My first car was a local made Leyland Marina). We talk up buying Australian, but really at the end of the day, I don't think most of us give a rats, we buy what we want. Of course the lack of choice in the Australian car market I think doesn't help. Its pretty much med-big car only + that Holden Cruze.
What I still want to know from the car industry is
1) Why did my 2011 Australian made Toyota Aurion Grande only cost me $A35k in Dubai new, and in Australia its over $A45k? aussie Camry in Dubai has similar differences in price compared to Australia.
2) Why are local made Camry and imported Corrolla so expensive in Australia compared to USA?