Holden is for keep or not to be decided by Productivity Commission's inquiry
The fate of the much-loved carmaker Holden now rests on the Productivity Commission's inquiry into the shrinking Australian car industry and the response of the government to that inquiry.
Despite being wholly owned by General Motors of the US since 1931, Holden was once immortalised in song for being as dinky di Aussie as kangaroos, football and meat pies. Ford, Holden's historic rival, has already announced it will stop making cars locally by October 2016. This now leaving only Holden and Toyota Australia in the game. If Holden decides to stop making cars here, Toyota is likely to follow the same path because the crucial component supply chain would lack the critical mass to survive.
The Abbott government has indicated that it is open to interim funding but this is somehow missing the point. Both Holden and Toyota need long-term taxpayer assistance and industry policy for the next decade, in order to attract investment from their parent companies needed to build new models.
Behind the scenes, main government figures are saying that Holden has already decided to go and that no realistic package would keep it. In public, Joe Hockey, the treasurer, has even tried to blame Labor for any eventual closures in the car industry. But this is incorrect, Holden and Toyota were prepared to stay under Labor's policy settings. If the industry closes now, it will be due to decisions taken, or not taken quick enough, by the Coalition.
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