“The end of Australia’s car manufacturing industry has arrived,” writes the Sydney Morning Herald after Toyota announced today that it will no longer make cars in Australia beyond 2017. “various negative factors such as an extremely competitive market and a strong Australian dollar, together with forecasts of a reduction in the total scale of vehicle production in Australia, have forced us to make this painful decision,” Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda said today.
With 22 million people, Australia has about the population of Beijing or Shanghai, and nobody would expect one city to carry three automakers. Cars had to be exported for volume, and they used to be a lucrative Australian export – until the Aussie dollar became too strong. Australians bought 1.14 million units last year, but most of them were imported from lower cost, cheaper currency markets.
What may have sounded like a bit of overdramatic copywriting on part of the Herald is actually true. All large automakers operating in Australia have called it quits. [Continue Reading]