Will they ever learn? Unlikely.

Apparently, Prime Minister Morrison has:

expressed anger at General Motors’ decision to dump the Holden brand in Australia, 72 years after the first home-grown car rolled off the production line, lamenting that $2 billion of taxpayer funds had been pumped into the automotive group.

Poor booby.  Clearly the Prime Minister is focused on the big stuff.  You know, like seeking a distraction from any attention of his government’s ineptitude and cluelessness.  Is he equally upset at the $100 billion debacle that is and will be the submarines project?  Has he called out Christopher Pyne?  Will there be a salary and pension clawback under a GEAR – Government Executive Accountability Regime?

But before going further, lest he or his staff be reading, a couple of points to note.  Tax payer funds were not pumped into the automotive group (General Motors).  They were pumped through the automotive group to the employees of the automotive group.

This is a text book demonstration of how clueless politicians are relative to the wisdom of consumers and the market.  The market clearly made its mind up on the Holden product, even though the product was subsidised, as demonstrated by sales numbers.  Here is a picture for those who are verbally challenged:

Don’t like the picture.  Herewith from the AFR:

Holden sales have been in serious decline in Australia, in part because car buyers have shifted towards SUVs and away from the traditional sedan that Holden built its business on with models such as the Kingswood and Commodore.

So basically, the Government was subsidising a product that people did not want to buy and then got upset at the producer for stopping production of a product that people did not want.

Such thinking is standard in government who never stop producing more government even though the people don’t want it.  The big difference is that General Motors did not have the legal authority and police necessary to forcibly take money from consumers and to force consumption of its cars.  If only.

In January, Holden’s market share in Australia was just 3.7 per cent, with only 2641 vehicles sold. It was the 10th-ranked brand in Australia, with market leader Toyota at 20.6 per cent market share. In 2019 Holden sold just 43,176 vehicles. In its heyday in 1970, Holden was selling more than 200,000 vehicles a year.

Rather than being upset at General Motors, the Prime Minister would better serve Australian citizens if he focused his attention on removing other such subsidies across the Australian economy.  Perhaps starting with the ABC.

But this would require work and focus and would reduce the opportunities to appear on television and to pump out social media content.  It would also require this Government to stand for something other than keep Labor out of office.

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83 Responses to Will they ever learn? Unlikely.

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    Holden sales have been in serious decline in Australia, in part because car buyers have shifted towards SUVs

    GM have a death wish.

    GM Is Going All Electric, Will Ditch Gas- and Diesel-Powered Cars (2017)

    The punters want SUVs not golf carts. I’m amused that as well as retiring the Holden brand GM announced they were selling their plant in Thailand.

    Who, might you ask, would buy a plant that makes petrol consuming dinosaurs on wheels?

    GM Shuts Australia, NZ Operations; Sells Thai Plant To Great Wall

    Great Wall, one of China’s biggest sport-utility vehicle makers, said it will sell cars from the Thai manufacturing base, which also has an engine plant, in Southeast Asia and Australia as it seeks global sales amid a slowing domestic market.

    Chinese people are not dumb even if woke GM executives are.

  2. Entropy

    These pricks only believe in staying on the gravy train of office.

    Scotty from Marketing probably spent a week workshopping his lines.

  3. Robert

    Wrong about where taxpayer funds were pumped. The crooked subsidy deals were struck by unions with Labor in an era when they had significant power to wreck the economy, and worked in collusion to maintain that threat. It was like the superannuation levy before superannuation – a mechanism to prop up union power. Then the media took over the story and made it about Australian manufacturing. GM, Ford and Toyota execs in Detroit and Tokyo couldn’t believe that found such rubes as Australian Governments. They creamed the profits for decades. I know because I worked in two of those three, and heard the key conversations.

  4. Watch Your Back

    The graph shows they had 15% of the market in 2006, dropping to 9% in 2014.
    I seem to recall all 4 car manufacturers in Australia closed down production after 2013. Something to do with a carbon tax. That is, government moving the goalposts.

    In the coming period we shall have EVs thrust upon us, again by government dictat. Car manufacturers are scrambling to survive. Even in Germany.

  5. Now is the time to invest in horses and carts. The Amish were onto the demise of western civilisation well before its time.

  6. struth

    What would any smart manufacture be doing in Australia?

    The union workforce, toward the later years, was small due to automation, and are only part reason for the disappearance of car manufacturing in Australia

    The subsidies given would only be covering the extortionate cost of taxation and compliance without which, no company would have stayed as long as they did.

    And it obviously was still not enough to compensate.

  7. stackja

    1948 first Holden – 1950 VBU strike

    Holden’s Strike Settled
    The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA) – Tue 28 Mar 1950 – Page 4 – Holden’s Strike Settled
    About 100 employees of General Motors-Holdens, Ltd., Birkenhead, who went on strike on Sunday because they claimed a staff man had done work usually done by a daily-paid employee, decided yesterday at a meeting in the Trades Hall to resume work today. After a conference with the management, officials of the Vehicle Builders’ Union, which covers the men, said that the management had agreed to disrate the staff man. Applications would close on June 15. Only boys whose 13th birthday occurred this year were eligible to apply. The management had indicated that the staff man bad acted against their instructions in working on Sunday.

  8. stackja

    Strike Delays Holden Output
    The Age (Melbourne, Vic.) – Tue 30 Aug 1949 – Page 4 – Strike Delays Holden Output

    Peak 1949 Holden production — which it was hoped would be 80 cars a day — has been set back three months by the coal strike.
    The highest daily figure this year will now be about 64. Output had been increased by General Motors-Holdens Ltd., according to a planned schedule. At the end of June daily production was 40. The strike, however, meant delay in supplies of raw materials and parts from many Australian sources.

  9. And the unions leaders and shop stewards all appear to have come from the same country, if not the same part of that country.

  10. Rafe Champion

    Last year in May I wrote “Decency and Mediocrity beat Malevolence and Mendacity” but it was a close-run thing and I am starting to wonder about the the PM’s decency. Still too many rats in the ranks.

  11. Iampeter

    All this can easily be solved by jacking tariffs on any foreign cars, duh.
    You’re just not a fighter TAFKAS.

  12. Iampeter

    @Rafe – you were also critical the PM didn’t personally even comment re the Folau sacking. From the point of view of supporting Folau!
    So the reasons you complain about Morrison are not the reasons actual right wingers dislike him.

  13. struth

    All this can easily be solved by jacking tariffs on any foreign cars, duh.
    You’re just not a fighter TAFKAS.

    To match the tariffs they place on ours?

  14. Roger

    …seeking a distraction from any attention of his government’s ineptitude and cluelessness.

    Exhibit A today: Morrison denying governmental responsibility for the robodebt disaster which they were advised was unlawful three years before embarking on it.

  15. jo

    My 10 yr older 750 bmw went far better than my hsv commodore.

  16. FelixKruell

    So basically, the Government was subsidising a product that people did not want to buy and then got upset at the producer for stopping production of a product that people did not want.

    This piece seems a little confused.

    Morrison wasn’t railing at GM for stopping manufacturing subsidised cars in Australia. He was railing at them for stopping selling cars in Australia. Which for a few years now haven’t been subsidised models, but rather ordinary (very ordinary in fact) cars imported from overseas. There was nothing stopping GM from importing cars people actually wanted to buy. The fact they didn’t, was GMs fault, and is now causing more job losses in Australia, and the loss of an iconic brand. That is something Morrison can happily rail against.

  17. Jonesy

    Riddle me this, Batman. How is it car manufacturers cannot survive without subsidy yet we have five truck manufacturers who can?

  18. Up The Workers!

    If G.M. are pocketing our $2 BILLION in cash incentives to stay here, and giving Australia and Australian taxpayers a one-fingered salute whilst walking away with our cash, then surely the jelly-backed Australian “Happy Clapper” Misgovernment would be within its rights to flog off all their remaining real estate, plant, equipment and freeze all of its Australian bank accounts ‘in situ’, in expiation of the debt the bludgers are welshing on.

    Why should crooks prosper at our expense?

    Is there some sort of dirty under-the-counter kick-back scam going on, involving the pollies who gave G.M. the $2 BILLION in the first instance?

  19. @iampeter

    All this can easily be solved by jacking tariffs on any foreign cars, duh.

    Don’t follow. Is this humour? Am sure you know that all “Australian” cars are foreign. Not to mention Holdens were for a long time foreign also having being assembled out of mostly foreign parts. Where was Dick Smith and his ramblings on Australian made when it came to Holden and Ford.

  20. @struth

    To match the tariffs they place on ours

    Our what? Our cars? Firstly, who is this “our”. Has Australia nationalised car production? Secondly, who is this they?

    Amazingly all the major car manufacturers have production in the US where they produce the cars that the consumers wish to buy.

  21. struth

    the 2 billion was over many years.
    People talk here as if it all went straight into the pockets of execs.
    Why would you pull out if that was happening?

    Please answer me this.
    How much did all governments make taxing the car industry and all it’s service industries over the years?
    Maybe if they hadn’t, and hadn’t brought in draconian regs and compliance?

    We are a small market and we are right hand drive, which including all right hand drive countries, is only 25 % of world market , probably less now due to LHD China.
    Holden were at one stage exporting LHD vehicles as well.

    It wasn’t just the unions who killed car manufacturing, as it was nearly all automated in the assembly plants.
    It was government making it too hard to operate with regs and taxes compared to O/S and taking much more from the industry and it’s suppliers than the 2 billion it gave back over 12 years.
    The ABC near costs that every year.

  22. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Riddle me this, Batman. How is it car manufacturers cannot survive without subsidy yet we have five truck manufacturers who can?

    Riddle me this, Batman. How is it that Australian farmers have been told since the mid 1960’s “Rid yourselves of any idea that there will be any American style subsidies. Learn to compete for market share, cut your costs, get more efficient or exit the industry to make way for those who can compete” yet car manufacturers cannot survive without subsidies?

  23. struth

    AFKAS, Iampoyda was being sarcastic regarding tariffs as a cure.
    I was implying that his simplistic theories regarding tariffs never takes in what the other trading partner is doing.

    Fair trade versus free only on one side, trade.

  24. Dr Faustus

    All this can easily be solved by jacking tariffs on any foreign cars, duh.
    Don’t follow. Is this humour?

    Just not in the way the chatbot programmer thinks…

  25. Roger

    How is it car manufacturers cannot survive without subsidy yet we have five truck manufacturers who can?

    Good question.

    But worth noting that every country with a car industry subsidises it, including Japan.

    Our subsidies were extraordinarily generous, though.

  26. Eyrie

    Dumb fucks at GM imported the wrong cars. We drove a Chevy Blazer in 1986 in the US. We’d have bought one if available in Oz. GM have resurrected it in the US.

  27. He’s a fool for commenting at all. Why bother? Look in people’s driveways…not many Commodores.
    He’s been sucked in by his media advisers to pop up every day. Doesn’t work like that anymore. Must be insecure.

  28. mh

    General Motors is always the bad news story in the United States that the media wish to highlight, despite the rest of the US economy going gangbusters.

  29. mh

    He’s a fool for commenting at all. Why bother? Look in people’s driveways…not many Commodores.

    Yet it used to be the clit of cars – every cvnts got one.

  30. Dumb fucks at GM imported the wrong cars. We drove a Chevy Blazer in 1986 in the US. We’d have bought one if available in Oz. GM have resurrected it in the US.

    The last thing we need in this country are American cars.
    Their trucks are worse, especially dinosaurs such as Dodge Rams and Chevy Blazers.
    Fortunately, the manufacturers recognise this and don’t fist them on the local market.
    Toyota and Volkswagen (Amarok) are better built and of higher quality.
    They are years behind European and Japanese manufacturers in technology, are inefficient, and poorly engineered.
    The only US exception is Tesla, although their interior fit out leaves a lot to be desired.
    The Koreans and Japanese make the best vehicles, and it’s reflected in sales figures.

  31. tombell

    maybe Lara Bingle was ScoMo’s last decent idea?

  32. Roger

    He’s a fool for commenting at all. Why bother?

    His net approval rating is -12.

    Albanese is ahead as preferred PM by 3 points (Essential Poll).

    His media team will jump at any chance to put him in front of the cameras in a sympathetic light, as Cui Bono suggests.

    Nine months after the election, it’s clear that Morrison only won it because he’s not Bill Shorten.

  33. Dr Faustus

    Toyota and Volkswagen (Amarok) are better built and of higher quality.

    Indeed.
    And much better serviced. Rock into Longreach with a penis-enlarging Dodge Ram suffering from any engine/transmission problem and you’re there for a long time.

  34. Neil

    In 2006 we made 25% of cars. Not great but not bad. By 2013 locally made cars crashed to only 10% of the market. Take away fleet cars sales and nobody was buying aussie made cars. When Ford announced they were leaving when Gillard was PM the industry was dead. It died because for some reason people stopped buying aussie made cars.

    Also the crash in people buying locally made cars happened from 2008-2013 when auto manufacturers were getting all the money they asked from the govt. Looks like the subsidies just made the manufacturers complacent

  35. struth

    The last thing we need in this country are American cars.
    Their trucks are worse,

    Yet it used to be the clit of cars – every cvnts got one

    Like opinions.
    I always consult my local school principal before every car purchased.

  36. Seza

    We do not have a volume car manufacturing industry in Australia, only a car selling and servicing industry. Holden is being shut down as it will have nothing to sell at a profit, as General Motors is ceasing the development and manufacture of mainstream Right Hand Drive vehicles. This would leave Holden’s with only vehicles sourced from another manufacturer to sell, which would not be provided to them at a cost that would enable worthwhile profits, so there is no point in continuing. I worked for Holden’s and GM Asia/Pacific for 36 years, and it is sad to see, but GM has sold off all the right hand drive manufacturing and development divisions worldwide so no product will be available to sell here.

  37. struth

    VW Amaroks are a disaster.
    Well known for trouble.
    But being a diesel mechanic, I’d better seek the advice of a long socks and sandals, school principal.

  38. struth

    When you import millions of gooks and camel jockies, Pakis and various human detritus , who wouldn’t expect the sale of foreign cars like Hondas and vans that hold a family of 15, Mercs and all manner of Hundies etc, to take off.
    None of these people will see a country road, except the odd Indian, and don’t understand why bigger sedans were popular on open roads.

    There are many factors.

  39. Ian of Perth

    And what would the sales figures have looked like if state & federal gumments hadn’t mandated the purchase of Holdens & Fords?

  40. Kneel

    “… are only part reason for the disappearance of car manufacturing in Australia…”

    The odd thing is that when they did manage to sell commodores in the USA (2 door as Pontiac GTO, 4 door as Pontiac G8), the auto press raved about them. They used the platform for other GM “sports” cars, which also got good reviews. US police forces wanted them enough to import them from Saudi Arabia! Top Gear said “It’s good to know someone other than the Germans can make a big car that handles properly”. But the US unions had a dummy spit and GM caved – “No!” to selling Commodores in the USA.
    SAo there you go – it was the US unions that killed Holden!

  41. Archivist

    The simple fact is that Australia used to have an auto manufacturing industry, and doesn’t any more.
    We used to make cars – lots of them – and now we don’t.
    Instead, we sell university degrees to the children of the people who do.

  42. Buccaneer

    But Tesla was rated 27th of 28 brands in the publication’s 2019 ranking of the most reliable auto brands, and Consumer Reports placed the Model X among its 10 least reliable vehicles.

  43. Buccaneer

    Ford Australia will retain about 1700 design and engineering staff, the largest workforce of its type in the country.

    That’s up from about 1000 when Ford exited local production in 2016. Really, we only lost the low skill jobs to Thailand and picked up the high value jobs in R&D.

  44. Archivist

    yet car manufacturers cannot survive without subsidies?

    Their workforce regulations were too onerous. Insanely so.
    The union-driven awards were almost a parody of excessive unionised conditions.
    But really, any legal restriction on employment conditions should be accompanied by a tariff on goods from nations without those conditions.
    IF you’re going to have mandated high wages and working conditions, you need tariffs.

    But the government (the Hawke-Keating government actually, under the Button plan) trashed the tariffs so the only alternative was subsidies.

  45. Buccaneer

    Unable to negotiate reasonable energy prices might have made an impact too. Toyota left as well and they have no trouble selling vehicles and their awards were less.

  46. struth

    All up, the government[s] of Australia are the reason why we have no car industry.

    Everything from expensive power, to unions empowered, over regulation, compliance, excessive taxation of all, [from manufacturer, to suppliers and purchasers], even down to it’s bureaucratic loathing of all things Australian and love of all things European and non American, the general obtuseness that leads to, the general high cost of doing business here, even down to funding the ABC and it’s anti manufacturing, anti oil and fossil fuels propaganda, is all government’s fault.

    The subsidising of 100 or so million a year obviously still isn’t worth hanging around, and all manufacturing in Australia is gone.
    All companies.

  47. FelixKruell

    Struth:

    None of these people will see a country road, except the odd Indian, and don’t understand why bigger sedans were popular on open roads.

    Not sure why you think immigration has anything to do with it? Plenty of locals are picking SUVS for those open country roads., when given that choice.

  48. sabena

    Note the basic problem with the comments from Scott Morrison and Karen Andrews-the Government expects you to consult with it before making decisions that are best for your business.

  49. Iampeter

    Don’t follow. Is this humour?

    Yea, pure sarcasm. The lowest but also the funniest form of humour.

    @struth, the phone just rang and I think it’s for you. It’s the unionized, democrat and labor voters, asking for their economically illiterate 1920’s era talking points back from 2020 conservatives.

  50. Rohan

    Jonesy
    #3327162, posted on February 18, 2020 at 10:38 am
    Riddle me this, Batman. How is it car manufacturers cannot survive without subsidy yet we have five truck manufacturers who can?

    And don’t forget a bus manufacturer. My former next door neighbor was a senior engineer at Volgren and I asked him the same question around the time GM and Ford pulled the pin on manufacturing: They weren’t a union closed shop. Sure some members were members, but most were not.

    I don’t know if that’s the case with the truck manufcturers, but I suspect it may have something to do with it.

    “Solidarity for ever” sends everyone broke and unemployed.

  51. Iampeter

    Not sure why you think immigration has anything to do with it?

    When one doesn’t know anything about politics, economics, history, then immigration has a lot to do with everything. 🙂

  52. Iampeter

    Riddle me this, Batman. How is it car manufacturers cannot survive without subsidy yet we have five truck manufacturers who can?

    The margin on trucks is bigger so they can handle a lot more regulators and looters before going under.
    Which relates to:

    There was nothing stopping GM from importing cars people actually wanted to buy.

    I don’t have the numbers handy but the current regulatory burden basically makes it so that car manufacturers only really make money of truck-types and bulletproof limos for Middle Eastern dictators.
    They can’t money selling normal cars to normal people anymore.
    GM has basically been a bank/lender for decades.
    Automakers are basically wards of the state at this point.

  53. struth

    Not sure why you think immigration has anything to do with it? Plenty of locals are picking SUVS for those open country roads., when given that choice.

    And pick ups like Ford Rangers , designed here , built O/S,……………..
    However, Australia was not our manufacturer’s only market, and they were exporting, and not just to NZ.
    And the products stood up to overseas cars.
    However, in the eighties, that convertible Ford was a shocker.

    I’m just making this point.
    The government took from the entire auto industries far more than it gave back in subsidies.
    and although the unions did us all no favours they were only part of the problem, and the government’s taking far more with one hand than it gave back with the other seems to get overlooked here.

    And Iampooofta, if you have nothing to say, which you don’t, …………….masturbate elsewhere.

  54. Narwhal Tusk

    Why is there a still a “luxury” car tax?
    I know I know, no tax is ever removed.
    It was set at 58K limit approx as protection of local manufacturers being the top priced Holden or Ford.

  55. struth

    We have truck assembly plants for O/S manufacturers.

    We used to have our own brand of truck, called “Leader”
    We have coach body manufacturers although many less than we had.
    The reason these truck and bus manufacturers are still in business is entirely due to heavy vehicle regulations and ADR excesses that many O/S produced trucks do not comply with.
    Trucks and their many and varied adaptions cannot be compared to the car industry.

  56. Roger

    Trucks and their many and varied adaptions cannot be compared to the car industry.

    As I suspected; thanks struth.

  57. Roger

    Why is there a still a “luxury” car tax?

    Barnaby was working on axing it when he got axed.

    Just a reminder: it was brought in by John Howard.

  58. Neil

    https://autoexpert.com.au/posts/why-the-holden-factory-really-closed

    Obviously government funding, the cost of labour, industrial relations and market dynamics are all key considerations for a car-making industry. It makes the bullshit excuses sound plausible. But what’s not being said here – by neither Ford nor Holden – what they will not say – is that they got their manufacturing operations, staggeringly, horribly wrong.
    Ford and Holden stopped building the cars that Australians wanted to drive. Therefore, they bought elsewhere. It’s that simple. This process happened over many years. It was identifiable and the operations were salvageable – for a long time. But Ford and Holden luxuriated through a decade of the worst ever product planning decisions, floating on a sea of public money – taxpayer funds. We paid them to get this wrong.

  59. John A

    GM Shuts Australia, NZ Operations; Sells Thai Plant To Great Wall

    And what is there of any shareholding connection between GM and Great Wall?

    The vehicle manufacturers have many cross-shareholdings between them.

    All we are seeing is a brand (and a vehicle type) disappearing and being replaced by other brands and other vehicle types.

    In the same way that there are no Ford or Austin trucks, De Sotos, Hispano-Suizas, Austin 7s, or Stanley Steamers being manufactured today.

    Literally, “Nothing to see here, move on, please.”

  60. Arky

    You cannot make or do anything cheaper in this country than can be done elsewhere.
    The closure of textiles was the beginning of this process of undoing us and setting us against each other.
    Your work is not immune.
    Whether you program, teach, farm, manufacture, mine or build, there is some place in the world it can be done cheaper and better, and if the politics shift to allow bulk shipping against you, you are done.
    you might not think this the case.
    You might think your sector has a huge moat around it. Your mine or farm can’t be mined or farmed cheaper or better by someone else or it’s produce made cheaper and better elsewhere.
    I promise you, you are wrong. And the sentiment to prefer your produce because you are one of us?
    Not anymore you aren’t.
    I am of the habit of always looking for an Australian product first before any purchase. If I reversed this policy (why shouldn’t I? Did you go out of your way to support my industry?) I could save a lot.
    Your markets are all overseas? You smirk? Whether or not I favour you has no effect on you, you say?
    Tell that to the farmers of South Africa.
    They thought like you too.

  61. Arky

    Oh.
    But Arky, my skills are so good and in such demand in the global new order I can make six figures anywhere in the world.
    Well good on you.
    But you have to live somewhere.
    And when you get old and sick you have to belong somewhere to a people.

  62. Buccaneer

    Neil, The assessment in the “expert” report conveniently ignores that most of the component suppliers survived despite predictions of their doom post GM/Ford. There are other reasons stopping Toyota from starting back up manufacturing in this country, they have nothing to do with Ford or Holden. Indeed, Toyota is best placed to pick up the remnants of the fleet industry that migrated away from the former big 3 with it’s Hybrids and EVs. The fact is that the regulatory situation both energy and industrial is too fraught with change to gamble $1 bill plus on a new vehicle in this market with or without the ability to export. Otherwise both Ford and Holden would have just switched to a new model (Ford Territory anyone?)

  63. Buccaneer:

    The fact is that the regulatory situation both energy and industrial is too fraught with change to gamble $1 bill plus on a new vehicle in this market with or without the ability to export.

    Too much regulation that is never allowed to stabilise. Unpredictability in a market is death.

  64. Oz vehicle reliability ratings

    1st Mitsubishi Motors
    2nd Toyota
    3rd Kia
    4th Mazda
    5th Suzuki
    6th Mercedes
    7th Subaru
    8th Hyundai
    9th Honda
    10th Volkswagen
    11th Nissan
    12th Holden
    13th Audi
    14th Ford
    15th BMW

    Japanese and Korean corporations rule…..

  65. Buccaneer

    Each year, J.D. Power presents awards for initial quality, dependability, and performance & design to the car models that rank highest in their segment. Awards are also given for customer service and sales satisfaction to the car brands that rank highest in the industry. Tesla Motors was not included in 2019.

  66. Buccaneer

    Winston, one might wonder if the plethora of increasing regulatory and virtue signalling non specific hoop jumping is a deliberate stratagem to undermine commercial markets so the plebs will accept intrusive government?

  67. Iampeter

    Whether you program, teach, farm, manufacture, mine or build, there is some place in the world it can be done cheaper and better, and if the politics shift to allow bulk shipping against you, you are done.

    So true. We should just go back to clubs and the caves. Wouldn’t want to be “done” would we?

    Aside from the obvious issue with what you’re saying, what makes it so much worse is you don’t realize you’re basically spouting the same boilerplate, talking points that one expects to hear from any union-member, labor/democrat voter. A perfect example of how Trump supporters are indistinguishable from Bernie bro’s.
    Yet you still think you’re right wing and so do most people here.

    That’s the real problem.

  68. Squirrel

    This episode is yet another reminder that we need to take the talk of Australia as a “renewable energy superpower” with the mother of all grains of salt.

    Aside from the points already made about the obstacles to competitive manufacturing in this country, what happens in the global auto industry is a reminder that countries much larger and more powerful than us will do whatever is necessary to control strategic industries – we will get a look-in if we can contribute something of unique (or nearly so) value, such as rare earths, but not otherwise.

    This, in turn, is a reminder that we close down our existing competitive industries (because of “climate change”) at our peril – without them, what’s the Plan B to pay our way in the world?

  69. egg_

    Holden sales have been in serious decline in Australia, in part because car buyers have shifted towards SUVs

    Losing the Izuzu sourced 4WD Rodeo and no SUV for yonks prior to the Captiva was the nail in the coffin, thanks to parent company GM.

  70. egg_

    Methinks Holden and Ford enjoyed a cosy, complementary duopoly for decades, likely with wholehearted Government support.
    In the late 19070s, Holden went to the dimuitive VB Commodore whilst Ford went to the boxy big XD Falcon.
    More recently, Holden had no SUV in their lineup whilst Ford filled the segment with the locally produced Territory (based on a BMW X5).
    Holden spent a Billion dollars on a new locally produced VE Commodore (based on an earlier BMW M5 model) one in ten of which was a V8, which had been a buyers’ traditon for quite some time with advent of the Kia Stinger GT being seen as the SS Commodore’s imported successor.
    Comrade.

  71. Buccaneer:

    Winston, one might wonder if the plethora of increasing regulatory and virtue signalling non specific hoop jumping is a deliberate stratagem to undermine commercial markets so the plebs will accept intrusive government?

    That would be a fair comment if it were just Collectivist Wreckers* creating inefficiencies, Buccaneer IMHO.
    I would think the regulatory chaos is more due to incompetence than any plan.
    “*It was also alleged that Indparty wreckers had deviously moved beyond direct, crude, easily recognizable sabotage to wrecking in the areas of planning and resource distribution. Virtually any conceivable course of action could be construed as wrecking: for example the engineers’ decision to invest in a particular area could be construed as wrecking by withholding resources from other vital areas, while by the same token their decision to not invest could also be construed as wrecking: the opportunity cost of any decision could be used to indicate guilt. In other words, the engineers were made scapegoats for well known economic problems in various areas of Soviet industry.”
    (Getting a bit off track, but still relevant.)

  72. Iampeter

    And Iampooofta, if you have nothing to say, which you don’t, …………….masturbate elsewhere.

    Yea, because supporting leftist policies like tariffs and not even understanding the concept makes more sense as a general position on a right wing blog. So glad you have so much to say. Totally no masturbation from you.
    Don’t let me interrupt your deep political discourse, you deep thinker you!

  73. This issue has more aspects than a dog has fleas and most of you are following the scented trail.
    The last great managing director Holden had was Peter Hanenberger who brought Holden to that peak market share of 22% as per the graph in the comments above.
    He did this with a programme of getting GM product from around the world to fill in niche market segments around locally produced cars but always with a view to satisfying consumers ‘demands’. He also had Holden increase local models by bringing back the one tonner, and creatingcreate variants like the Adventra, Crewman, four wheel drive models and of course Monaro mk II. In this he was ably assisted by his manufacturing manager Albert Lidauer. The Trump and Barr of Holden respectively. They pushed to get economies of scale not by forcing discounted cars into a saturated Australian market, but by exporting the additional cars required to the Middle East, North America, South America and so on. (Discounted cars are not the blessing most assume because everyone loses on resale value)
    Holden earned so much money in this period that it was Holden cash which was used to buy the Daewoo operation in Korea because GM was on the ropes in America, which also needs to be remembered.
    When Hanenberger left to retire and Lidauer returned to Europe to work for Ford, GM began a string of appointments to the post which were akin to Obama returning. The complexity in the manufacturing plant with all the variants had caused considerable stress so this was abandoned and this great range of local cars discontinued. The new MD had no idea of running a profitable business and lowered prices because he knew that he could then sell even more cars than Hanenberger and become a hero. He was also a window dresser who insisted that at a time when GM was on the ropes and the nose, that Australians should understand that Holden was not Australian but a GM ompany and insisted that the GM trademark be reintroduced to businesses which were associated with Holden.
    He even decreed refunds to be sent to some original purchasers of some cars when he lowered prices. Did not seem to understand that this undermined the values of cars on finance books and balance sheets.
    And so the slide began,slowly at first. he would brook no counsel as he knew everything best.
    Then we come to the GFC debacle in Australia where as a result of the cash splash by Rudd, the Reverse Bank decided (Keynsians all) that they needed to raise interest rates to counter the inflation which they just knew would follow from the Rudd profligacy and raised them to 7%(?) and threatened to raise it higher still, while warning people to be careful of over committing to purchase as rates would rise higher.
    This at a time when interest rates were minuscule anywhere else in the world. As a result, cash flooded into Australia to get snouts into this interest trough and the demand for AUD drove its value through the roof, to about $1.10 US. Of course this was blamed on the resources boom as a culprit had to be found to divert attention from the Reverse Bank which began to drop interest rates with indecent haste.
    Holden manufacturing with Australian costs could make money at an exchange rate up to $.80 US so they were immediately under water as were a lot of other businesses. However Aussie voters had a great life with dirt cheap import at the expense of their children’s job prospects. If the dollar had not been inflated, I am certain that manufacturing would have continued. It would also have stayed if Hockey and Abbott had understood what was happening and taken a leap of faith in the exchange rate coming back in short order.
    But once GM made their decision it was inevitable that closure would happen. Since the component manufacturers relied on volume to survive, the loss of Holden meant that they had to close as well and that meant all vehicle manufacturing would end in Australia.
    Toyota and Ford were not so reliant on exports for their break even volume and would have been able to weather the high dollar of for the interval but then their parent companies were not in the dire straits in which General Motors found itself. It goes without saying that GM had yet another very weak leader at their head at that time.
    All in all, a tragedy for everyone concerned where the innocent suffer and the guilty get off free.

  74. Buccaneer

    Some points to consider.

    Territory was based on the Falcon.
    VE Commodore was a new platform developed for the Camaro and an aborted US sedan. It was all GM.

    Ford nearly went broke during the GFC, they borrowed their way out of it and sold Land Rover, Volvo, Aston Martin and closed Mercury.

    Winston, valid points, but I am more concerned about politicians abrogating decision making to public servants and hiding their intentions than blaming businesses for making rational decisions based on what they know. The constant ramp up of changing and varied legislative and regulatory burden I think is a bureaucratic agenda not always a political one and rarely one bushed by business.

  75. Arky

    Rasputin
    #3328274, posted on February 19, 2020 at 9:18 am

    ..
    Thanks for a good potted history of the specific factors.

  76. Apparently Kerry Packer said we were crazy not having a protective tariff on our manufactures to counter act the low wage economy of Asia etc.

  77. Great Wall vehicles have USA Cummins engines in them

  78. Like the example of the FWC case when the union took Toyota to court. The company wanted to be able to talk directly to their employees one on one so to speak. FWC ruled in favour of the union, and the union ‘dicks’ gave the Toyota executives from Japan the ‘birded’ finger on the announcement. Then not that long afterwards Toyota announced the total closure of the Laverton plant etc, ad the job loses.

  79. Professor Fred Lenin

    Electric cars will be mandatory soon ,a good thing ,the petrol saved will be handy to fuel the home generators needed to charge the electric cars ,because there is no way in the world renewables will,no matter how much they are subsidised . GM s switch to electric vehicles wont sell in Asia or South America , the people there are far too smart to be conned by the climate change carpetbaggers ,only the advanced tertiary educated Clever Westerners are stupid enough to fall for the globalist spin .

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