Holdenvana

Further to TAFKAS’ post of earlier this week, available to all Catallaxy subscribers:

Will they ever learn? Unlikely.

This morning, Greg Sheridan wrote an oped in the Oz lamenting the disappearance of Holden:

The death of the Holden brand is not just a cultural tragedy for Australia — the death of something unique, special, something we created all ourselves and brought to magnificent fruition. It is much bigger than that. It reflects the disastrous national wrong turn we took when we got rid of car manufacturing.

Cultural tragedy?  Seriously.  But when he says “we got rid of car manufacturing”, one must ask who is this we kimosabe?

Sheridan is usually good on foreign policy and national security, but generally rubbish on matters economic.  And this is another example.

This disaster was brought about by a combination of green costs on industry, ludicrous power prices and grievously misplaced free-market economics nostrums. The net result was a catastrophic loss of capacity, complexity and competence across our economy, a dumbing down of our society, a needless limitation on our potential and a serious dent in our national security.

A disaster apparently.

He lists a number of areas of cause for the disappearance of car manufacturing, but failed to recognise the 3 horsemen of economic apocalypse – big labour, big business and big government.

Nowhere does Sheridan mention the contribution of unions (not the workers) or mention the contribution of the crap management (domestic and in Detroit) or mention the contribution of a conga-line of dumb government (politicians and bureaucrats) who together delivered a product that people did not want to buy – whether because of quality, price or product.  PEOPLE DID NOT WANT TO BUY the Australian version of the Trabant when better options were available.

Let’s just go to the scoreboard – and imagine what these numbers would have looked like if the 3 levels of Australian profligate government did not mandate the use of concurrently subsidised and overpriced cars.

We should not be looking for people to blame but lessons to be learned.  And apparently there were no lessons learned.

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62 Responses to Holdenvana

  1. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    apparently there were no lessons learned

    Apart from all the wrong ones (again).

  2. Neil

    Locally made cars went from 25% of the market in 2006 to only 10% by 2013. Industry died because people stopped buying aussie made cars. There should be an investigation because taxpayers gave these manufacturers billions to make cars nobody wanted to buy.

    I guess it shows govt subsidies do not work

  3. Buccaneer

    I’m no Holden fan, but aside from the Camira, it’s a stretch to equate a Holden with a Trabant. The Holden brand held up in the face of the decline of large fleets and the transition of government purchasing to low emissions vehicles. Both Ford and Holden had to give up on the fleet business because of this change. What killed it in the end was an inability of the parent company to be able to invest in new infrastructure for a new and different model to be made in Aus.

    Holden was from the start a brand (deceptively) promoted as Australia’s own, it was always owned by GM. As soon as manufacturing disappeared many of their die hards felt licenced to look elsewhere. That is the decline you are seeing on that graph. Frankly you could have rebadged Mercedes as Holdens and it would have made little difference.

  4. Confused Old Misfit

    Can anybody tell specifically what the difference might be between Australian and North American conditions; with respect to cars, or trucks for that matter.

  5. Buccaneer

    Ford F series remains the number 1 selling vehicle on the planet. There are a number of other vehicles in the same category in the top 10 due to US consumption. Cheap fuel and a large rural and regional population drive demand.

    US has wide roads and a car focused culture with many main cities with poor public transport. Lots of freeways and plenty of accommodation to park your car too.

    All 3 large manufacturers in the US nearly went broke after the GFC, Obama bailed out GM and Chrysler for billions then the US government effectively sold Chrysler. GM may never recover global market leadership, they sold Opel and Vauxhall, Killed Saab, Oldsmobile and now Holden.

    Part of the bailout in the US for both GM and Chrysler was to reduce the Union award conditions that were in excess of those for foreign based manufacturers in the US. I think the trade off was for more Union control in the same vein as VW in Germany.

    Motor vehicle manufacture is low margin (less than 2%) except for Toyota who have a higher margin. This might be partly due to their dominance of the highly protected Japanese market where cars over 2 years old are heavily taxed so most vehicles are sold before 4 years old.

  6. Buccaneer

    As an adjunct, when the Abbott dropped subsidies for the motor industry here, bonking Billy misrepresented the level of subsidies the US provided to US manufacturers by including the bail out amounts and then aggregating that into an average per vehicle.

    This was pointed out by Andrew Bolt and the MSM went very quiet about the whole thing.

  7. Neil

    I was talking to an American about why Toyota is so popular in the US. All the US manufacturers import lots of parts from Japan. In fact Toyota may have more local content than Ford or GM.

    He told me that Toyota cars made in the US are better quality than GM and Ford cars made in the US

  8. Confused Old Misfit

    All 3 large manufacturers in the US nearly went broke after the GFC, Obama bailed out GM and Chrysler for billions then the US government effectively sold Chrysler. GM may never recover global market leadership, they sold Opel and Vauxhall, Killed Saab, Oldsmobile and now Holden.

    Nearly went broke? They went broke.
    GM dropped Pontiac in 2008 and they will not likely regain their previous market penetration.
    But that is they way of businesses. They rise and they fall.\
    Consider this: If Australia had adopted the left hand drive/right hand traffic…
    Might still have an automobile industry.

  9. Ubique

    Judging by the comments, the Australian’s readership is well aware that the car manufacturing industry collapsed owing to government subsidies and interference, unions capitalising on the same, and management acceding to union demands in the full knowledge that woe-begotten Joe Public would be forced to pick up the tab.

  10. Buccaneer

    He told me that Toyota cars made in the US are better quality than GM and Ford cars made in the US

    One part of the reason Japanese manufacturers are higher quality regardless of location of manufacture is that the Japanese embraced W Edwards Demings approach to quality management. Also saddling the US manufacturers is the hangover of expectation of high wages from the days of Henry Ford and the depression when a gig at a Ford factory was a highly paid job, but no commensurate commitment to improvements in productivity. Unionisation didn’t make the US workers better, just more entitled.

  11. Buccaneer

    Another big factor was the Thailand free trade agreement. The agreement itself was not the problem, it was that the Thai’s placed a registration excise on vehicles over 3.0 litre capacity specifically to exclude the vehicles then manufactured in Australia.

    Without that agreement, maybe Ford Rangers would be made here? Of course not, renewable subsidies creating high electricity prices and unreliable supply were always going to drive manufacturers away. Do you know how much electricity it takes to cast an engine block or run a production line? An inability to project those costs is too much when you have a billion dollar investment. It will cost more than a billion to wind up Holden – it’s still cheaper to pull the pin – that’s one big vote of no confidence in the commercial conditions of investing in Australia.

  12. Craig Sargent

    Unions pushing up costs, governments slowly reducing import tariffs… it was always going this way.

  13. FelixKruell

    Plenty of carmakers gave figured out how to design and build a portfolio of cars that are popular the world over, manufactured in high and low wage countries.

    GM and Ford are not among them.

    That’s where the blame lies.

  14. Cynic of Ayr

    Long ago, – decades – thus my memory is inexact, there was some stink about Ford reducing or stopping manufacture in Australia, either partly or wholly.
    I recall some interview on the ABC, – yes, they were stupid pricks then too – between some know-all kid of the female persuasion (at least then she was female, not too sure what she’d be today) and CEO of either Ford Australia or Ford USA.
    Anyway, she got all huffy and imperious, and said to the CEO, “How can you make this foolish decision. Ford will lose hundreds of cars to sell!”
    The CEO responded, with some annoyance “Lady, we can make Australia’s entire Ford vehicle production in Detroit, in two days.”
    That part I remember as pretty accurate.
    OK, long time ago, and Detroit ain’t Detroit any more, but it demonstrated even then how piddling Australia was in the scheme of things.
    Also, I recall it said that the Australian Factory Toilet Cleaner was on 100 Thousand a year, and a supervisor could neither pick up a spanner, nor “supervise” more than half a dozen workers.
    It might be uncomfortable, but I think it’s well known that the Unions got half the money the car manufactures received from the Government.
    I guess GM was in the same position as Ford. But if both made their cars in Detroit, even badged to suit, there wouldn’t be all that lovely bribery from the dumb Australian Government, would there?
    It wasn’t about cars, it was about Unions and votes.

  15. Hasbeen

    Two of the main factors in the loss of the Ozzie car industry has been the technical development which has made small cars much more satisfactory as family cars, & the introduction of roll on roll off ships to cheaply deliver complete cars around the world.

    Small cars have just as many systems today as large cars, but must be sold at a lower price than large cars. The cost to manufacture any car is very similar. Just a bit more tin & paint is about the difference in mass market cars.

    You can’t sell a locally produced small car for the cost of production. We could only sell the apparently more expensive large car at prices that made production locally possible.

    All 4 of our major manufacturers were locked into large car manufacturing due to this. They could not change to the smaller cheaper cars the public wanted economically, & could not change to the other growth market of recreational vehicles. Crew cab utes & 4WD wagons are in demand, & perhaps Toyota could have made their Hilux profitably, but the others couldn’t gain sufficient sales locally for that.

    With more reasonable power & labour costs, perhaps some could have survived, but it is unlikely. The sensible thing was to cut their losses & leave us to wallow in the mess we have made of the country.

  16. The BigBlueCat

    One part of the reason Japanese manufacturers are higher quality regardless of location of manufacture is that the Japanese embraced W Edwards Demings approach to quality management.

    Many US (and Australian) manufacturing firms (especially vehicle manufacturing) adopted TQM/SPC in the 90’s, having seen the success of Demings, Japanese manufacturing and kanban. I once visited Ford in Geelong where TQM/SPC was comprehensively embraced (control charts everywhere).

    GM’s problem was that they were too busy polishing a turd of a product – too few people wanted to buy a GM product, especially one that’s imported. Better off buying Korean, Japanese or European than Australian or US. Local product was too expensive, lacked style/finesse and didn’t have the resale value that Euro cars do (and some Japanese and even Korean with their 7 year warranties).

    It was only the Holden name plus local manufacturing that held GM-H up! Now that they are just another imported car, no wonder their sales have slipped. I’ve no doubt that the current Commodore is a good car, but they just haven’t been able to get their message out (other than V8 Supercars, which you can’t buy for the street). Who aspires to drive a Holden these days? Clearly too few ….

    Off topic I know, but I have a view when it comes to Toyotas and their drivers (based on confirmation bias) – if they actually had a clue they wouldn’t be driving a Toyota. I’ve seen too much poor driving from Toyota drivers, and I usually expect some pretty poor performance from them when in traffic – I’m rarely disappointed! Not saying all Toyota drivers are bad, but it seems to me a large percentage of them ought to take their driving lessons/tests again! I hold BMW drivers in the same regard ….. though I actually do like BMWs as a car (there are few Toyotas I like).

  17. Iampeter

    Cultural tragedy? Seriously.

    It’s the loss of the horse and carriage industry all over again! Will someone think of the children!?

    Seriously though, this is just the discussion of random technicalities by those who don’t understand the fundamentals. Really low quality stuff from our journalists, writers and thinkers.

    We should not be looking for people to blame but lessons to be learned. And apparently there were no lessons learned.

    Or better yet, we should properly understand the situation. In a free market lower skilled jobs will always be outsourced as part of the mechanics of comparative advantage. Eventually they will become automated provided nothing stops progress.
    In a mixed economy this gets slowed down and Frankenstein industries drag along generations past their use by date, but it will still happen inevitably. Only it won’t have the proper mechanisms in place so the transitions are always jarring, unexpected and cause needless chaos in peoples lives that wouldn’t have happened if we just had capitalism.

    Bottom line: car manufacturing leaving Australia is a good thing. The fact that it’s taken this long is the problem. The lesson is we need capitalism.

    People like Sheridan don’t seem to even know what’s going on.

  18. The BigBlueCat

    But if both made their cars in Detroit, even badged to suit, there wouldn’t be all that lovely bribery from the dumb Australian Government, would there?
    It wasn’t about cars, it was about Unions and votes.

    Exactly!

  19. Buccaneer

    Capitalism is not the main reason the car industry left. Most of it is the appalling instability of the latest virtue signal de jour that meant investment instability. The Thai government paid Car companies exorbitant amounts to secure manufacturing plants then whacked deceptive taxes on post sale to avoid their own “Free Trade” agreement.

    If it were a fair market, free from government own goals in the form of restricted labour and crazy energy prices, we might have been the Detroit or the Stuttgart of the pacific. Ford still has 1400 design and development staff here, our natural resources are abundant, it’s just that our pollies are too gutless to stand up when they get shafted by overseas interests or by clueless lefties wanting to use government as their own personal moral vanity project.

  20. Neil

    As an adjunct, when the Abbott dropped subsidies for the motor industry here,

    Actually that is not true. Subsidies were not dropped they were just not increased. They are legislated till 2020 and are still available and you can apply at this link.

    https://www.business.gov.au/Grants-and-Programs/Automotive-Transformation-Scheme

  21. Tony K

    I’m in San Antonio, TX. Toyota put a pickup truck factory here about 10-15 years ago. Toyota have multiple manufacturing plants in the US; mainly in the South where there is little union influence along with little disruption from snows. I don’t know if that was a consideration by management, but I’m sure it was part of the mix.
    The Toyota jobs in San Antonio are much sought after and it’s the type of job that you don’t hear of many leaving. Multiple suppliers have also moved to the area and the associated economic advantages are huge. And the technologies that come with them in terms of robotics, and automation are enormous catalysts for local universities and trade schools. Several things contribute to Toyota’s satisfaction with the region:
    Transportation is fantastic. Freeways allow trucks almost unfettered access, so when schedulers plan deliveries and pickups, they are almost invariably on time. Trains run on time and devote resources to Toyota. Housing prices remain affordable keeping mortgage pressures low on workers. It means lots of development and new roads, but getting the equivalent in Australia is like pulling teeth. Infrastructure (waste, power, sewerage) is economic, reliable and predictable. Market access for finished product is quick and seamless.
    A recent survey in the US lists two main attractions for millennials: music and trails. (“Trails” covers such things as nightclub venues, bike trails, pub routes, contemporary restaurant trails, themed conglomerations, themed activities, etc.) Note that “job” wasn’t in the top two. The employee of the 21st century has lifestyle considerations that the baby boomers didn’t. Nearby airports for both passengers and freight also figure into consideration.
    If Australia could match this, then maybe the country would still have a viable auto manufacturing industry.

  22. Buccaneer

    Budget 2014–15 reflects the Government’s decision to terminate the ATS on 1 January 2018, in line with the timing of production ending. Approximately $1.0 billion funding over five years from 2013–14 will remain available under the Scheme to support vehicle manufacturers and supply chain companies. Terminating the ATS will save $618.5 million over eight years from 2013–14.[4] The Government will also save $215.0 million over four years from 2013–14 by not proceeding with funding for the General Motors Holden’s next generation vehicles project.[5] A further $4.1 million over three years from 2014–15 will be saved by not proceeding with the Ford Australia – assistance to workers programme.[6] The latter program mainly provided funding for career advice and training to supplement employment support services.[7] These workers will continue to have access to the Automotive Industry Structural Adjustment Programme.

  23. New Chum

    Google “senator john button car plan”
    Also google “gemini plant closures”

  24. Neil

    Budget 2014–15 reflects the Government’s decision to terminate the ATS on 1 January 2018,

    Yes after but not before. Do you know what AFTER means? AFTER Holden announced they were leaving in 2013 the Coalition started talking about terminating the ATS which was legislated till 2020. Why fund Holden when they are going to up and leave?

    Coalition decided to keep the ATS funded to 2020 most probably because they did not have the numbers to cut the scheme in the Senate.

    There were no subsidy cuts. There was some talk AFTER Holden announced they were leaving to cut the ATS but the Coalition I guess were too gutless to put the cuts to the Senate for a vote

  25. Buccaneer

    “Terminating the ATS will save $618.5 million over eight years from 2013–14.[4] The Government will also save $215.0 million over four years from 2013–14 by not proceeding with funding for the General Motors Holden’s next generation vehicles project.[5] A further $4.1 million over three years from 2014–15 will be saved by not proceeding with the Ford Australia – assistance to workers programme.”

    They stopped funding Ford and Holden, my understanding is that the remaining funding was to ensure as many component suppliers as possible survived the departure.

  26. I_am_not_a_robot

    Collectors should expect anything with a Holden badge in reasonable condition to appreciate – eventually.
    For instance there is a 1972 Holden HQ Monaro six-cylinder coupe for auctioned at Shannons with a price guide of $40,000 – $48,000, not bad considering the new price was $3,200 that converts to $33,500 in today’s money (Reserve Bank inflation calculator).

  27. Neil

    Nope. You obviously have trouble with English

    After Holden announced they were leaving there was some talk about terminating the ATS which was legislated till 2020. But it never happened.

    Subsidies are still available and you can apply at this link

    https://www.business.gov.au/Grants-and-Programs/Automotive-Transformation-Scheme

    PS you really need to look up a dictionary to learn what AFTER means

  28. John A

    grievously misplaced free-market economics nostrums.

    It’s nostrums such as “preserving a defence capability” which are grievously misplaced.

    If Free Market nostrums had prevailed, we would still be driving cars but they would be better quality, overseas sourced. And instead, we could have employed people elsewhere such as a nuclear power industry.

  29. Neil

    And instead, we could have employed people elsewhere such as a nuclear power industry.

    If govt wants to gives subsidies to manufacturing I would have given them to Australians who make washing machines and Fridges.

    The deadbeats we gave the money to make cars in Australia just used the money to pay themselves higher wages- both workers and Management

  30. Tim Neilson

    If Australia could match this, then maybe the country would still have a viable auto manufacturing industry.

    Instead we’re heading in the opposite direction on many of those metrics.

  31. Neil

    They stopped funding Ford and Holden, my understanding is that the remaining funding was to ensure as many component suppliers as possible survived the departure.

    No they did not. There was some talk about stopping the ATS after Holden announced they were leaving in 2013. But it did not happen because the Coalition did not happen the numbers to pass the legislation to stop the ATS

    So it did not happen

  32. A Quiet Australian

    Trabants? Similar to this article, I keep reading that our once top selling Australian-made cars – the Commodore and Falcon – were old technology, not fuel efficient, too expensive, blah blah blah. So how is it that the two top selling vehicles we have now, are diesel-belching trucks fitted with drum brakes and leaf springs, and cost about 50% more…..

  33. A Quiet Australian

    Oh, and the airbags in a Commodore or Falcon won’t kill you either.

  34. Squirrel

    “He lists a number of areas of cause for the disappearance of car manufacturing, but failed to recognise the 3 horsemen of economic apocalypse – big labour, big business and big government.”

    To which we could add a fourth – the Big Australia idiocy which is largely funded by the windfall wealth from mining and the unearned (by most of us) wealth from agriculture, and which has done a lot to push up the costs of doing business in Australia – particularly through its contribution to the insane real estate prices which have flowed through cost structures in the entire economy.

    We are world class at finding smartarse reasons for shutting things down (basically because other countries do them better and/or cheaper than us), or not doing things in the first place (because someone will be upset or offended) but not nearly as good at finding things to pay our way in the world.

  35. Speedbox

    The recent announcement by General Motors that it will discontinue the Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand was met with the usual gnashing of teeth by politicians and wailing by Holden aficionados.

    Now Sheridan wades in with more tosh.

    Why, or how, General Motor’s slow retreat from other right-hand-drive countries has been missed by most in this country is remarkable, although not entirely surprising. If Sheridan was half the journalist he thinks he is, maybe he would have noticed the shift.

    It is public record that GM had been extricating themselves from much more lucrative right-hand-drive markets such as the United Kingdom, Japan, India and South Africa for the past few years.

    Why did anybody think that the small (and shrinking) Australian or New Zealand markets would be spared? By the way, Thailand is also on the chopping block.

    From some production perspectives, it makes some sense (75 per cent of all vehicles sold globally are left-hand-drive) but I don’t think the matter ends there. GM, like all manufacturers is spending many billions on the development of their new electric vehicle range and I wonder whether the closing of right-hand-drive vehicle production lines is a precursor to electric vehicle production. I am not convinced that GM’s primary motivation is simply cost cutting whilst simultaneously disenfranchising 25 per cent of the global market; in particular the UK, Indonesia and the massive market in India.

    Therefore, I wonder whether we have really seen the last of right-hand-drive vehicles from GM. One inescapable truth is that car manufacturers have less opportunity to recoup their investment when the cost of designing, engineering and development of left and right-hand-drive vehicles is the same. However, with electric vehicle platforms, those costs are less.

    In any event, the discontinuance of the Holden brand is merely collateral damage in GM’s evolving world view of the auto market. I am certain there are much bigger plans afoot. (Sheridan: take note and be a little more inquisitive with your reporting).

  36. Neil

    Why, or how, General Motor’s slow retreat from other right-hand-drive countries has been missed by most in this country is remarkable, although not entirely surprising.

    OK we now import all our cars. I assume Ford imports RHD cars from somewhere? Where from? Toyota is easy. Japan is RHD so Toyota imports from Japan.

    If Ford stays in Australia where are they to import RHD cars from?

  37. Crossie

    PEOPLE DID NOT WANT TO BUY the Australian version of the Trabant when better options were available.

    And that’s where Holden fell. In 2011 we holidayed in Western Australia and rented a new top of the line, beautiful looking and powerful Commodore on our arrival in Perth. We drove it for a couple of days and admittedly it performed like crazy out in the Wheatbelt. On the third day the passenger side window got stuck in open during a rainy day. The best we could do is get plastic and duct tape at the nearest hardware store to patch up the hole until we could get back to Perth airport.

    The rental company were happy to replace it with the same size car which turned out to be a Falcon. It wasn’t as new or as flash as the Commodore but it performed well for the remainder of our holiday.

    Moral of the story: buy Ford.

  38. Buccaneer

    https://www.industry.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-01/australian-automotive-industry-transition-following-the-end-of-australian-motor-vehicle-production.pdf#page12

    The ATS was recast after 2018 to help the remaining businesses making components or providing automotive services transition so they didn’t all just disappear. I may have already pointed that out already but someone is more interested in obtuse abuse. Stump up some actual evidence that Ford and Holden get the subsidy. I’m happy to believe you if have more than insults and assertions. A link to an application form only proves the hundred plus other business in this sector can still apply.

  39. Buccaneer

    Ford has imported cars since pretty much from day one. They have all been rhd except a few that were converted. Currently most from Thailand and Germany. Ford sells the top selling car, the Fiesta in the uk which is a rhd market.

  40. Crossie

    OK we now import all our cars. I assume Ford imports RHD cars from somewhere? Where from?

    I have no idea but suspect it might be either Mexico or South Korea. Towards the end of 2018 we purchased a new Ford and requested a colour that was not in stock which meant it had to be ordered from the manufacturer. We kept getting emailed updates as to when it was produced, when loaded onto a ship and when it arrived in Australia. The ocean voyage seemed to take three to four weeks.

  41. Crossie

    I believe General Motors indicated a while ago that they will be importing Opel cars from Germany to replace the Holdens.

    I think that is a mistake since Opel means nothing to Australians whereas Chevrolet cars have a much higher social profile and importing those models from US would make more sense.

  42. Neil

    A link to an application form only proves the hundred plus other business in this sector can still apply.

    I guess you are talking about me. OK I am not an expert and this is a blog where people can give ignorant opinions.

    My understanding is that the Coalition talked about ending subsidies after Holden announced they were leaving in 2013.

    AFTER Holden announced they were leaving the Coalition wanted to truncate the ATS. Why fund Holden when they will not be making cars?

    After huffing and puffing the Coalition did nothing to the ATS and funding is legislated till 2020 and there is still time to apply.

    You say Abbott stopped funding? When did this happen? U gave a link to the May 2014 budget but it was never passed? Labor blocked the 2014 budget in the Senate. Remember?

    Am I wrong?

    PS what insults did I give?

  43. A Quiet Australian

    OK we now import all our cars. I assume Ford imports RHD cars from somewhere? Where from? Toyota is easy. Japan is RHD so Toyota imports from Japan.

    If Ford stays in Australia where are they to import RHD cars from?

    Neil, unlike GM, Ford has a major presence in Europe, so Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and Transit come from there where they are built in RHD for the UK market. Ecosport comes from India which is also RHD. Ranger and Everest from RHD Thailand. Mustang from the US but is engineered for LHD and RHD.

  44. Buccaneer

    Neil, you obviously have trouble with English (according to you that’s not an insult). Yes, I know the funding is still available, it’s for Australian component suppliers, like the company that makes 25% of the rear view mirrors for cars, in the world and the only company that makes one piece carbon fibre wheels among more than 100 other companies that were seriously endangered when Holden ford and Toyota stopped manufacturing.

    You know, it’s also interesting that you focussed on the part of that post that was unimportant to the point, which was when the Abbott govt announced the end of subsidies Beach Boy Billie misrepresented the subsidies the US govt provided to try to embarrass the Abbott govt into continuing and increasing subsidies.

  45. Tel

    Sheridan is usually good on foreign policy and national security, but generally rubbish on matters economic. And this is another example.

    He’s rubbish on everything, but you don’t look closely enough on foreign policy.

  46. Neil

    You know, it’s also interesting that you focussed on the part of that post that was unimportant to the point, which was when the Abbott govt announced the end of subsidies

    Round and around we go.

    My understanding is that after Holden announced they were leaving in 2013 the Coalition wanted to cut the ATS. But it never happened because the Coalition did not have the numbers in the Senate to do any cutting.

    Abbott could not cut anything because he did not have the numbers in the Senate to cut anything. Did not matter what Abbott proposed he was always doomed by the Senate.

    I have been told that parts of the May 2014 have never been passed and are still waiting to be passed

    Am I wrong?

  47. Buccaneer

    Neil, you may be right, I can’t find evidence that you are and you’ve provided none. That said the doc I linked to makes it clear that the funding that is available is to fund component manufacturers primarily. I’ve also read plenty about this because I have a background in the industry and keep up to date with how they are lobbying and who’s getting funding. If you are right and there is still money there for H and F it’s not to the same amount by a wide margin, indeed it appears they’ve contributed to the workers fund. Are you seriously suggesting a government needs legislative approval to pull a subsidy, or that they even have to give it out in the event the program is available, since two election cycles ago?

  48. Neil

    Are you seriously suggesting a government needs legislative approval to pull a subsidy,

    YEP.

    Actually not legislative approval but Senate approval also. Looks like the Coalition gave up cutting subsidies because they knew the Senate would not agree

  49. Buccaneer

    Prove it and I’ll believe you

  50. BoyfromTottenham

    A recent article in ZeroHedge claims that GM are in serious trouble globally and are shutting down their operations in many small markets, including Australia, NZ. No mention at all of this in the MSM. So it seems not only will Holden dealers have no Holdens to sell, but they won’t have anything else from GM to sell. Zilch, nix. And of course anyone who owns a Holden or GM car will be left high and dry, and even worse price cuts here of 50% have been mooted to get rid of Holden and GM stock as soon as possible.
    IMO this is the real story – hundreds of Australian Holden dealers are out of business at the end of this year, and Holden and GM owners get shafted.

  51. Neil

    Prove it and I’ll believe you

    How do I do that?

    Abbott did not go through with the cuts in the 2014 budget because he could not get his cuts through the Senate and it was politically damaging as well

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/mar/10/coalition-reverses-500m-cut-to-taxpayer-assistance-to-auto-industry

    The government on Tuesday said it would not proceed with plans unveiled in last year’s budget to axe $500m from the Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS) between now and 2017.

  52. Neil

    Prove it and I’ll believe you

    Actually the proof is in the 2014 budget link you gave. Subsidies needed legislation to be cut. That is why they were in the May 2014 budget papers. But after squealing from interest groups the Coalition did not go through with the budget cuts.

    Budget needs to be passed through both houses of Parliament to become law. So subsidies need legislative approval to be cut

  53. Buccaneer

    You did not prove anything other than the ATS was repurposed to support component manufacturers, just how that has already been pointed out several times. Silly word games are not proof that Holden and Ford are still receiving subsidies. You have nothing.

  54. Professor Fred Lenin

    Years ago in Dandenong Vic Holden had a factory on the Gippsland rail line , there was a rail station there called “General Motors ” their workers used traces of it still exist ,Nissan assembled cars close by and International Trucks had a huge truck park there . We also had GM at Fishermans Bend and Ford at Geelong and Broadmeadows . Probablu]y just as well they are gone Victoria wouldnt have enough electricity to power them ,and we can buy our cars from countries whose ignorant people arent aware of the climate change disaster coming next week . Wonder what happened to the car union communist comrades ,absorbed into the cfmeu?
    Deindustrialisation is good ,we can always buy overseas with borrowed money ,dont worry our shipping lanes will be protected by submarines ,made in SA , by 2099 ,(the first delivery )

  55. Neil

    Silly word games are not proof that Holden and Ford are still receiving subsidies. You have nothing.

    OK

    But isn’t the fact that the subsidies are in the budget means it needs legislation to be reversed? I am going to believe a govt needs legislation to remove a legislated subsidy until proven otherwise

  56. Buccaneer

    But isn’t the fact that the subsidies are in the budget means it needs legislation to be reversed?

    No because the funds are there does not mean they have to be disbursed and the legislation does not allocate funds to specific companies, that’s what the application process is for.

  57. John A

    Professor Fred, the GM site in Dandenong has been re-purposed for a long time.

    It is now several components of land, with Aust Post Letter Centre as the biggest single component, followed by a Bunnings Store (re-purposed from a former Masters hardware store), a Woolworths Distribution Centre and many smaller factory-ettes and retail establishments.

    The Motor Producers (VW)/Nissan plant in Clayton has been re-purposed into smaller units with Holden Special Vehicles Group and ancillary component businesses (the petrolheads) along with a number of other industrial-grade businesses on the site.

    The Australian truck business is more complex, but the IH site is now occupied by IVECO (which owns the International brand). Inters used to share body shapes with Dodge Trucks when they were both building them here. Even now Paccar supplies Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF brands, while Renault, Mack and Volvo are one grouping; within the Iveco group you can occasionally see Inters of various types, and I haven’t even started on the Japanese brands. 🙂

  58. John A

    PS: the General Motors “station” is occasionally still referenced by Metro trains, but the platform is derelict, denuded of buildings and out of service. No trains stop there at all.

  59. Neil

    No because the funds are there does not mean they have to be disbursed and the legislation does not allocate funds to specific companies, that’s what the application process is for.

    OK. You gave me a link from the 2014 budget saying the ATS was going to be terminated in 2018. That legislation was never passed. In fact I gave a link from The Guardian at 11.37AM saying that legislation had been reversed.

    So I suspect neither of us has any evidence of what the subsidies were used for till 2020. I suspect Holden got funding up until the day they stopped making cars in Australia

  60. Buccaneer

    Except the same link you gave explained exactly my point that the ATS funding now goes to manufacturers of auto component suppliers not the big three manufacturers who have pulled out of Australian manufacturing so no longer qualify for the ATS.

    Obtuse is a word, you don’t really need to live it.

  61. Buccaneer

    https://www.goauto.com.au/news/general-news/manufacturing/carbon-revolution-on-target/2020-02-21/81681.html

    Smart investors will put their money into these guys. They are the kinds of businesses getting ATS funds now.

  62. Neil

    OK I guess because Holden is not making cars here anymore. When did Holden stop making cars in Australia? You said Abbott/Coalition stopped subsidies.

    When did this happen? Subsidies are legislated till 2020. OK for components manufacturers because Holden does not make cars here anymore. What date was the last Holden manufactured?

    I don’t think there were any subsidy cuts like you stated.

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