GM Holden’s Australian closure

My take on Holden decision in the AFR today

The soap opera of General Motor’s departure from Australia is ending. The company has been operating with sporadic profitability for a decade and more.

Last year it lost $153 million. This was in spite of it benefiting from the 5 per cent tariff protection on domestic sales and $73 million in government grants, although half of that was for the commercially fruitless pursuit of the green car political ideology.

In recent years, Holden’s products and quality have shown vast improvements from the models sold 15 years ago.

Locally assembled cars have been losing Australian market share. But this is to be expected in a global business that operates an internal market where each area sources models from the most appropriate location. That spells specialisation of products, more imports and more exports.

Holden’s export strength is in the “muscle cars” which have received considerable critical acclaim in the United States. But even then, they were forced to sell at very low profit margins to keep competitive. And US sales, having risen to 30,000 a year prior to the 2008 global financial crisis, have fallen 90 per cent.

Holden Australia has found itself in the wrong market segment with a product whose labour costs and government impositions make it more expensive to build than GM cars in other locations.

It’s the same story with engines. Holden’s V6 line is losing favour and its output is falling below the long-planned 100,000 level. Even within the GM family, the Australian V6 is losing out to similar engines made elsewhere.

Holden’s cost problems are well-known. They do not stem from the company being undercut by cheap third world labour. Even those plants in Europe, Japan and North America, where living standards are similar to ours, operate more productively. Very little of this is due to greater economies of scale overseas.

Holden has become little more than an enterprise run by unions for the benefit of workers and union officials, with lavish employment conditions bringing a crippling cost disadvantage.

One indicator of this is the starting wage for a production line worker: $23.50 an hour in Australia, compared to $14 an hour agreed by unionised plants in the US (even less for non-unionised plants). On top of this, Australian workers get shift penalties and overtime rates, and more than twice the normal weekday rate for Sunday shifts. These and other conditions are unknown in the US and make Australian labour market costs double those elsewhere.

Profound misunderstanding on the left

 Although labour costs in assembly only comprise 20 per cent of total costs, these are crucial and not irrelevant, as the secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions Dave Oliver has argued.

Oliver’s view, shared by so many on the political left, represents a profound misunderstanding of the drivers of business decisions in an interlinked world.

If wages are 20 per cent of costs and double what they might be, this wipes out profitability. Such cost-padding requires a price rise of 12 per cent. Yet the industry faces tight competitive conditions and Australia is integrated into a world market which provides no scope for such a price increase. Hence, the cost must come from profit, which it virtually eliminates.

Similarly, the carbon tax and the renewables requirement add severely to Holden’s woes.

Holden estimated the carbon tax was costing it $45 a vehicle but the total cost of carbon emission measures – including renewable requirements – on assembly and components is much greater.

Compared to its overseas competitors, these imposts might add as much as $600 to the cost of a car. This alone is 5 per cent of the ex-factory costs and halves the firm’s net profit, providing international management a clear pointer about future global capital allocations.

Holden’s Australian management acquiesced to union demands, buying short-term peace at the expense of the strategic loss of value for the company. In part, this was due to the centralised wage-fixing conditions loaded in favour of unions. Management at Holden saw the immediate loss of output from industrial unrest as too great a price to pay. Noting that costs were excessive, they hoped something would turn up, including further subsidies from governments besotted with the idea that a motor vehicle assembly industry was the key to economic well-being.

They had ample justification for thinking this. In addition to subsidies, Labor in Canberra and Adelaide financed numerous consultants’ reports that told a tale of massive employment multipliers and technology gains from motor vehicle assembly. Of course, these were all mythical. Such gains can be counted for every new job, but when the job is financed by taxation, its multiplier additions are offset. If the new job comes out of profits, the future is jeopardised.

Now we have the endgame. Unions face lower revenues from scamming the motor vehicle companies. Workers face much lower wages in alternative jobs – even if these become available.

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61 Responses to GM Holden’s Australian closure

  1. Blogstrop

    Excellent article, thanks Alan. It’s fair to acknowledge that Holden’s cars are now so much better than they were in the 1990s. The Australian’s editorial, while mostly correct, made the error of denigrating the product, which I thought was out of order.

  2. Gab

    Holden cars are crap. No wonder their sales have fallen to around 30,000 per year.

  3. johno

    Hooray. Holden is leaving. This is a good day for Australia.

    Can you believe the hysterical crap coming out of so many otherwise intelligent people. Holden is closing its doors in FOUR years and people are carrying on about it being a terrible Christmas for them. When I was retrenched many years ago, I got one months notice. ONE month. Holden workers are getting FOUR years. Suck it up princess.

  4. Combine_Dave

    It’s fair to acknowledge that Holden’s cars are now so much better than they were in the 1990s.

    But even their improved offerings hardly have a reputation for quality matching to European, Japanese or even now Korean vehicles.

  5. joeallen

    Let’s not forget the cost of government regs that companies face, most of which have nothing to do with operating a business. So maybe now whole government departments that parasited off the car industry will also disappear. Except that they will now move into your house, telling you what you can do in your house. The metal smelters will go next. Also the largest category of exports come from the auto industry. These will now disappear. There are no jobs to replace these ones that are disappearing.

  6. Louis Hissink

    Ahh, the English disease, neatly summarised in that movie starring Peter Sellers, “I’m alright, Jack”.

  7. JohnA

    That’s one less large employer to be slugged by the Paid Parental Leave levy.

    Let’s hope the government sees the folly of that scheme, and ditchces it in the next budget round.

    More generally, at this level of business, there are no “economies of scale” available. They are all swallowed up in the overheads required to co-ordinate, plan and manage the large enterprise. See Tom Peters, Parkinson’s Law and the Peter Principle.

  8. JohnA

    Oh, and let’s not forget that manufacturers have exited in the past – eg. VW and Nissan (co-incidentally from the same plant in Clayton).

    Both left considerable momentum in the after-market for service, parts and re-manufacture. And both stayed as importers, maintaining competitive pressure on the rest.

  9. sabrina

    Alan Moran – part of what you say is right, and you very carefully avoid the other part of the equation. Labour cost – both frontline labour and management is high here.
    Even if you lower labour cost to a very level, even lower than non-unionised labour cost in the US, the industry here will not be competitive.

    The fact is – greedy union, incompetent management, GM USA – all are to blame, the last being a major reason. The real problem in Australia is low volumes for the high capital investment. The high cost per unit is not so much due to labor costs but due to the high amortisation of capital cost per unit produced.
    You may care to read Philip King in the Australian for an honest assessment, his last two articles there, before writing on car industry.

  10. Tom

    Yes, Alan, but will the left’s idiotic selfishness and tribal insanity ever be acknowledged in public when the AFR itself, in all its political commentary, campaigns for fashionable Marxisms? Still, it’s good to have it spelt out:

    If wages are 20 per cent of costs and double what they might be, this wipes out profitability. Such cost-padding requires a price rise of 12 per cent. Yet the industry faces tight competitive conditions

    As mentioned in the OT, Grace Collier is also mandatory reading on this subject this morning.

  11. Ant

    Sorry, can’t agree Holden cars are all crap.

    Their current ‘Commodore’ model is pretty good, given the price (even with subsidies!!) and even compared with some Euro & Japanese models. And they’re on par with similar American cars.

    They’re also soundly designed both inside and out, IMHO.

    Crap are many Korean cars and anything Chinese.

    It’s a shame Holden will cease production.

  12. entropy

    Their current ‘Commodore’ model is pretty good, given the price (even with subsidies!!) and even compared with some Euro & Japanese models. And they’re on par with similar American cars.

    you say that like its is good that hey are made as good as American cars. I would settle for as good as Korean car. Sad statement, but true.
    Holden’s are built predominately for the corporate fleet market, and thus only really good for a couple of years. About the same time as a lease.
    I always had Holdens for years, and looked with utter contempt at the poor build quality and paint jobs of little boxes like Hyundai excels. But, low and behold, time marches on for all but Holden it seems, and a modern Hyundai sedan shits all over a commodore in build quality. And has a much better warranty.

  13. Geoff

    Far more important issues face Holden etc closures than union pay packets

    We have lost the ability to mobilize remaining Australian industry in the event of war.

    During WW2, our industry was able to convert from peaceful production of planes, cars boats etc to manufacture military hardware, clothing and equipment. Not any more!

    Lt-Gen David Morrison recently said, “An Army has got to be able to provide the government of the day with a broad range of options to meet military contingencies.”

    But our Defence Force is useless without equipment and ammunition etc. A few years ago we even ran out of 7.62mm, 5.56mm and 9mm AMMO forcing our government to buy stock from South Korea and Indonesia.

    How disgraceful that, for one example, a new Landing Helicopter Dock Ship is to be made in SPAIN.

    Our Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory once equipped our defenders.

    Now, our Diggers buy field gear from Camping Goods outlets and NON-issue boots approved for soldiers field use include:
    Altama 4158 3LC Hot Weather
    Belleville M590 or M591 Hot Weather
    Bates 30501 Durashock Desert
    Crossfire Peacekeeper Plus
    Danner Arcadia Desert
    Altama 4156
    Meindl Desert Fox Safari
    Lowa Urban Desert
    Garmont T8 Multi Terrail.

    The list goes on.

    Australia , weep cry and certainly PRAY!

  14. Spiro

    Its difficult to understand what the leftard view is on topic such as this. On the one hand we hear the union movement arguing for more industry assistance/corporate welfare, on the other hand we hear from the inner city zealots that the govt should not be using taxpayers funds to benefit shareholders of private companies. Or the Greens, who have in the past proposed that exiting companies car plants be nationalised.

  15. james

    This will be able to be blamed on Abbott. And as such will cost him more votes than privatizing the ABC would. Many people don’t understand the emotional connection of the working class males that elected Abbott with holden.

    This could be disastrous for Australia electorally even if it is a smart move to let holden die economically.

  16. Mike of Marion

    So james, Labor screwed the car industry and Abbott has to wear it?

  17. Steve of Glasshouse

    It’s not about General Motors Holden; it’s about the narrative. The left couldn’t give a rat’s arse about the workers. They do care however that they can milk this situation for every bit of media play that they can get.
    When the media is pretty much on your side, not a big ask really.

  18. .

    You may care to read Philip King in the Australian for an honest assessment, his last two articles there, before writing on car industry.

    Shut up Sabrina. You may want to get a clue.

    The fact is – greedy union, incompetent management, GM USA – all are to blame, the last being a major reason. The real problem in Australia is low volumes for the high capital investment. The high cost per unit is not so much due to labor costs but due to the high amortisation of capital cost per unit produced.

    This is nonsense. Their costs are high because…amortisation.

    If labour costs are high…then what would they substitute for labour? Capital? (Why the US spelling – we are talking about manual employment, not the ALP…)

    You’ve blamed labour costs without even realising it.

    You turkey.

  19. Tom

    You may care to read Philip King in the Australian for an honest assessment, his last two articles there, before writing on car industry.

    Another lefty knowall, of which there is an epidemic, thinks she knows exactly what GM should have done and why the smoking wreckage of Australia after six years of Labor-union misrule is an ideal place to make overpriced cars.

    Get a real job, sweetheart.

  20. Jazza

    Last April to June I was looking for anew small car
    My grandson and I inspected what was on offer around the Gold Coast dealerships.
    I was selling a six yr old Mazda3 in a private sale in Victoria, so was a cash buyer
    We inspected new(then) models at Mazda, Holden,Ford, Toyota,Suzuki,Mitsubishi(think I left one out but the name escapes me)
    I bought the Mitsubishi Mirage on June 30th, the cheapest of them all, $2grand less than Toyota ,Ford or Holden equivalent for eg–with once a year service at fixed cost for five years, and the car with absolutely the best visibility all round from the driver’s seat.
    It hardly uses any petrol, drives well on the road on a journey,responds quickly when you need it,and while there is not much boot room due to the interior being where the space occurs, and others like a heavier vehicle for an elderly pensioner Great Gran it is just fine
    Mitsubishi also are tops for courtesy and service,arranging a very competitive insurance policy from day one and thorough in their work I have since experienced–I didn’t ask if their employees were unionised, but if so I would be surprised as they appeared to me to have pride in their work and nothing’s too much trouble ,at Von Bibra

  21. rebel with cause

    I always had Holdens for years, and looked with utter contempt at the poor build quality and paint jobs of little boxes like Hyundai excels. But, low and behold, time marches on for all but Holden it seems, and a modern Hyundai sedan shits all over a commodore in build quality. And has a much better warranty.

    Ain’t that the truth. Kia even have a local Australian office that stiffens up the suspension of their cars to suit our roads and driving habits. Of course there are some Korean cars that are still crap – notably the Daewoos that are rebadged and sold here as Holdens. The Daewoo ‘Holden’ Barina is the only car to have ever got a worse safety rating for the newer model. Daewoo is, you guessed it, owned by GM – seems that they can’t get enough of selling Australian’s crappy cars under the Holden name.

  22. rebel with cause

    Far more important issues face Holden etc closures than union pay packets

    We have lost the ability to mobilize remaining Australian industry in the event of war.

    During WW2, our industry was able to convert from peaceful production of planes, cars boats etc to manufacture military hardware, clothing and equipment. Not any more!

    Good Lord. Holden can’t even build a decent car during peacetime – you’d have them try their hand at building military equipment during a war?

  23. Robert O.

    In biology all parasites do not kill their hosts, otherwise they too die, but the unions have yet to learn this simple lesson.

  24. Token

    Hooray. Holden is leaving. This is a good day for Australia.

    I understand what you mean, especially after the sheer amount of public funds sunk into that industry, but it is actually a tragedy which should be studied carefully.

    As I noted on the OT. There are many, many businesses which are shifting jobs off-shore at the current time due to the short term vision of the unions & the ALP which is reflected in the loss of these jobs.

  25. Token

    Good Lord. Holden can’t even build a decent car during peacetime – you’d have them try their hand at building military equipment during a war?

    Refer to the scandulous history of the Collins class submarines for an example of what happens when the union dominated Australian workforce build something critical to our nation’s defense.

  26. candy

    Does anyone really think the powerful unions will learn from mistakes made in regard to Holden/Ford etc, or will they just become more entrenched and make life very hard for Tony Abbott as revenge?

  27. boy on a bike

    Their costs are high because…amortisation.

    I seem to remember that when the global car industry was surveyed some years ago for “The machine that changed the world“, Australia came out as having the least robots per car plant for just about any country.

    If that is still the case, where the heck did all the capital investment go?

  28. Ant

    You make some good points, entropy, but, no, I wouldn’t hold up American cars as any kind of ‘standard’ to be aspired to. Merely that a basic Commodore is at least as good as a standard American alternative. American cars, in my view, have improved vastly also.

    I did about 4,000 k’s in a Chev Traverse a couple of months ago and must say I was pleasantly surprised – even allowing for the squishy suspension and seats. It costs about $32k new – and that is bloody incredible!

    People are saying cars like the Commodore are “crap”. Crap? Really?

    Maybe they’re just “average”, because if we’re about calling cars like this “crap” then we’ve become very pampered, fussy and whingey indeed.

  29. .

    They’re not crap but they are overpriced.

    A Ford G6E Turbo or even a FPV F6 E is a fine car – just double what the prevailing market price in the US would likely be.

  30. rebel with cause

    They are crap for the price they try to sell them at – look at the sales numbers. The market has spoken.

  31. OldOzzie

    The Unions and Labor are to blame for the demise of Holden – Toyota soon to follow

    Just read the

    HOLDEN ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT 2011 – http://resources.news.com.au/files/2013/12/11/1226780/877147-aus-news-file-holden-eba-2011.pdf

    and the

    TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION AUSTRALIA (TMCA)
    WORKPLACE AGREEMENT (ALTONA) 2011 – http://resources.news.com.au/files/2013/12/11/1226780/877085-aus-news-file-toyota-eba-altona-2011.pdf

    In the Grace Collier Column in the Australian Today

    Mind Boggling – No wonder Companies in Australia are going broke and closing down if this is how Labor and the Unions behave – and remember these stupidities do not include Carbon Tax and Labor Regulations

    The following below is a small sample – GM did not run their own business

    4.3.4.2 Contractors in Salaried Area

    It is agreed between the Parties that the following guidelines will be followed in regard to the utilisation of
    contractors in the salaried areas.

    (a) Holden’s short and long-term projections for labour will determine the need and number of contractors
    that are required to support the business.

    (b) Holden may engage graduates transitioning direct from university in Professional Engineering or Science
    roles as contractors or as Holden employees on a fixed-term contract, subject to clause 4.5.2, for the
    duration of the project. At the expiry of a fixed-term contract , the individual will be either offered a
    permanent ongoing position with Holden or will be disengaged, depending on the circumstances at that
    time.

    (c) A graduate employed as a contractor into Engineering or Science role will not be worse off than a Holden employee in an Engineering or Science role in reference to clause 5.6.1.9(h).

    (d) Holden will advise the relevant union/association of the Contract Houses that are utilised for contractors in the salaried areas. In the event of any concerns that arise under this clause, Holden and officials of the relevant union/association agree to meet to resolve the issue.

    (e) Holden will meet with the officials of the relevant union/association concerned to resolve any issues of
    concern that may arise with the utilisation of contractors.

    (f) Holden agrees to distribute to new contractors any provided material related to union/association
    information at their induction.

    (g) Holden will continue to monitor job opportunities that may enable contractors the opportunity to
    transition to permanent positions in Holden based on their qualifications, skills and experience and suited
    to the roles that become available based on the long-term requirements of core programs.

    (h) Any dispute arising within the provisions of this clause will be dealt with under the provisions of the
    dispute resolution procedure of this Agreement

  32. rebel with cause

    Agree Dot. The real crime is how much we pay for cars in general, whether imported or not. If we paid the UK or US price for cars, the average Australian could be driving a BMW or buying something just as good as they do know and pocketing $15 000

  33. Token

    People are saying cars like the Commodore are “crap”. Crap? Really?

    Maybe they’re just “average”, because if we’re about calling cars like this “crap” then we’ve become very pampered, fussy and whingey indeed.

    I belive they are crap as they are overpriced and do not stand out in any way. That said, unlike previous generations of car they are reliable.

  34. Struth

    No one would deny a car industry that could stand on it’s own two feet is better than not having one.
    A lot of the “experts” here write about wage costs and a quote an hourly wage or a yearly salary exposing they know nothing about the coal face of industry.
    This has more to do with “way” Australians work. Not how much they get paid.
    If a car worker in Australia produced twice as much per hour than his US counterpart they would be able to be paid better surely.
    It’s the “way” Australians are working in every industry causing problems everywhere.
    Due more to bureaucratic control of the way Australians work, they now effectively produce about 2 hours worth of work in an 8 hour shift.
    When this dumb nation work out that the left are not only in education but very much in industry bureaucracies as well, and that unionism and the disruption of industry comes from taxpayers (no need for union fees) who pay for crazy public servants trying to stop Australians doing any work at all (work is considered a safety hazard) you might get some idea of what’s really going on.
    Couple that to a union site like Holden and you haven’t got a chance in the world.
    Before an Australian moves at work he must dress in PPE that makes you look like the love child of a fireman and a beach ball and sit and do a “JSA” and worry about the safety nazi roaming around that can get you in serious trouble for the tiniest infringements of insane safety rules. Better not to do anything. And if you want examples of the Australian workplaces insanity on the way it works, I got plenty.
    But spare me the bullshit from so called experts writing from an office.
    If your so removed from industry that you don’t know what’s going on , just try to get through one day, anywhere in Australia without seeing a high viz shirt.
    You can in other countries.Crazy OH@S, more than wages is killing this country. It is taxpayer funded, industry killing unionism.

  35. Rococo Liberal

    Personally, I blame the management. They were pussies in letting the unions get away with so much.

  36. Ant

    Yes, prices here are scandalous – and that’s not exaggerating.

    EG A Nissan Navara here is almost double the cost of the (practically) identical Nissan Frontier in the US. Same for Euro cars.

    Yet, sorry, but the Commodore is still not “crap”, even for its price. Just average, perhaps.

    Back in 1972 my dad bought a Valiant for about $2k, which was roughly equal to his annual salary in a building trade (now that was a “crap” car, but only by later standards!)

    Today, an average experienced building trade employee probably gets about $60-80k. For that he’ll drive away with, say, a Volvo XC60, complete with full leather interior, myriad hi-tech safety features not even dreamed of back in ’72, symphonic music quality, heated and electric seats, a D5 engine of such sophistication and efficiency that it would put a 70′s era NASA rocket engine to shame, etc, etc.

    Things are better now, aren’t they? Even allowing for how ‘soft’ we’ve become.

  37. Struth

    Right now, oddly enough there are machines of all types being imported from China that amazingly don’t comply to Australian ADR’s, and other insane bureaucratic legislation that put Australian competitiveness and price at a disadvantage. I personally know that these tractors have near killed people. The system is corrupt people.
    Hope your new chinese cars are better.

  38. Infidel Tiger

    Far more important issues face Holden etc closures than union pay packets

    We have lost the ability to mobilize remaining Australian industry in the event of war.

    If you think a car factory can build modern military equipment then I suggest you up your bromide intake.

    That furphy has been put about by unionists for years and us a complete crock of shit. Even if it were true (and it isn’t) the last thing we’d want is union scum building stuff for our troops.

  39. Token

    Yes, prices here are scandalous – and that’s not exaggerating.

    EG A Nissan Navara here is almost double the cost of the (practically) identical Nissan Frontier in the US. Same for Euro cars.

    I was in Japan a few months ago and the standard package of feaures that goes into a new Mazda 3 was startling (my family bought a car in July so the standard list was fresh in my memory).

    The starting prices were noticeably lower and the options were also cheaper.

    I can’t understand why we can’t import those brilliantly made cars which are made to drive on the left side of the road. It would save consumers between $5k to $20k off many models.

  40. Johno

    Personally, I blame the management. They were pussies in letting the unions get away with so much.

    No doubt management believed taxpayer’s money would always be available to pay for their cave ins. Pussies indeed, but rational, given the repeated failure of successive governments to stand up for taxpayers.

  41. turnip

    Hopefully now we can also remove the other hidden protection and allow parallel imports of recent used cars from the UK (and others).

  42. Infidel Tiger

    Not just cars, but parts.

    I had to buy a windscreen washer motor last year and was quoted $1700 before labor by BMW. Of course they have a monopoly on the import licence.

    Told them to take a hike and bought it online for €200 ex- Germany from some Bulgarian. Most likely a far re-birther.

    Australians are being taken for a ride.

  43. Struth

    Cars will not decrease in price with Holden’s closure.
    This country goes through busts and booms.
    Does the average joe get any richer or poorer.
    Not much.
    If you earn more in a certain area, than the cost of housing and living generally goes through the roof.
    Look at mining.
    When big comanies make big profits, they spread the wealth through their own bureacracies set up to pay the massive growth in parasitic government bureaucracy that always accompanies it, and the massive taxes, OH@S etc, that eventually kills it off.
    We are an incredibly dumd, lazy nation, and should rightly, with our resources, and could be a world player. Due to a politically lethargic national character, we get the smelly stuff we are now sitting in. Believing you might get any real benefit out of this, means you don’t understand the great level of corrupt wealth distribution embedded in the Australian system.
    If you do end up getting cars cheaper, other things will be more expensive.
    Just stay in your overpriced house, and pay your interest, you will be allowed just enough to keep you thinking you can catch the carrot they dangle in front of you, but they will keep skimming and skimming. The great Australian Battler’s fight back involves every now and then casting a vote (cause they have to ) for someone that might make them 50 bucks a week better off, while the top end of town take that 50 bucks back straight away.

  44. Ant

    I blame management to some extent only.

    They were merely stupid to set in play a culture of entitlement in the minds of their workers and their irresponsible and corrupt unions during times when GMH and Ford had a significant market share, possibly believing that the good time would roll on forever.

    But to reliquish effective control of their workforce to unions was nothing short of criminally negligent in terms of the company’s best interests.

    Companies that do this deserve to die.

  45. adrian

    holden cars are not ‘crap’ – the cost doing business in Australia is.

  46. alan Moran

    Token
    “I can’t understand why we can’t import those brilliantly made cars which are made to drive on the left side of the road. It would save consumers between $5k to $20k off many models.”
    That’s because we are not allowed to buy them. Protectionists in the government and bureaucracy have devised unique Australian Standards to ensure ‘safe’ driving. These entail considerable expense if we are to modify those desperately unsafe cars the Japanese sell at home to the needs of Australia!

  47. Token

    Protectionists in the government and bureaucracy have devised unique Australian Standards to ensure ‘safe’ driving.

    Safety is a great way to hussle cash from consumers.

    Though I respect his honesty I am stunned that the normally level headed Paul Murray opened his program with a protectionist rant last night where he declared that it was the a bad thing for consumers to be able to save $1500 or so as a result of the free trade agreement with Korea.

    WTF happened to this country since 2007?

    (I trust it is a good thing that people who suppressed these insane thoughts are now revealing them to the world)

  48. Token

    These entail considerable expense if we are to modify those desperately unsafe cars the Japanese sell at home to the needs of Australia!

    After all we all know that the culturally Japanese accept shoddy work and unsafe cars, that is why the world loves Australian cars and no one has ever heard of a Japanese brand. ; sarc off p

  49. Infidel Tiger

    Though I respect his honesty I am stunned that the normally level headed Paul Murray opened his program with a protectionist rant last night where he declared that it was the a bad thing for consumers to be able to save $1500 or so as a result of the free trade agreement with Korea.

    Since the election Murray is reverting to his old ways. Fortunately he always gets opposing views on his panels. So there is usually some sense spoken.

  50. egg_

    Cars will not decrease in price with Holden’s closure.
    This country goes through busts and booms.

    Yup and dealer network pricing incentives often include ones locale.

  51. egg_

    A Ford G6E Turbo or even a FPV F6 E is a fine car

    On the world stage.
    And despite posted performance figures, should you buy a 300C SRT8* (claimed 347kW) don’t be surprised if you’re left behind at the lights by the local Ford and Holden offerings.

    *Must tip the scales wet weight over 2 tonnes?

  52. Tom

    Safety is a great way to hussle cash from consumers.

    Tell me about it.

  53. LesterPK

    I can’t understand why we can’t import those brilliantly made cars which are made to drive on the left side of the road. It would save consumers between $5k to $20k off many models.

    Agreed, in 2008 Ibought a Honda Odyssey, 2000 model for $3000NZ, around $2500AUS. Moved to Perth in Aug2011, to buy the same car was $10K AUS!

  54. Paul

    The determination by some to blame this entirely on Abbott (teary Union dick for one) is beyond simply shameful. Its emotional vandalism.

  55. Paul

    “I can’t understand why we can’t import those brilliantly made cars which are made to drive on the left side of the road”

    I think the Swedes were the last developed country to change sides which they did in the later 60s.

  56. Oh come on

    A Ford G6E Turbo

    Funnily enough, I drove one yesterday. An impressive – and mighty quick – car.

    But it’s a battleship in a carrier era. Battleships are impressive, too – doesn’t stop them from being obsolete.

  57. Struth

    Due purely to government corruption and interference, whether by tax or compliance, Australians pay through the nose for “poverty pack” vehicles, sub standard to overseas.
    This happens in trucks , creating many problems, like attracting good safe drivers and keeping them.
    You RV’s are an absolute fortune compared to elsewhere.
    And so on it goes.
    We are worse than most other countries with overbearing red tape , bureaucracy, and taxes.
    What will we do about it?
    Go and watch the footy and pretend it isn’t happening.
    Maybe yell Aussie Aussie Aussie, OI, Oi,Oi at an international match.
    Play video games and not leave the house unless it’s to get another tottoo.

  58. Struth

    Tattoo…….my keyboard’s faulty.

  59. Brad

    WOW! Jo Hockey summarised the closing of Holden in Parliament very very well today. The Labor opposition was silenced because everything Jo said was true and everybody knows it.

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