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Proud Victorian!
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http://business.theage.com.au/500-jobs-to-go-at-holden-20080606-2mjs.html

Holden has confirmed plans to end production of four-cylinder engines at its Melbourne operations, which Australia's car manufacturing union said would cost 500 jobs.

The company said it now had a timescale for the ending of production of its Family II four-cylinder engine.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union car division federal secretary Ian Jones said the decision would cause workers and their families ''significant hardship'' in a shrinking local automotive industry.

He expected production of the four-cylinder engines would not finish until the end of next year, allowing some time to try to negotiate new jobs.

''Family II is the older of the two engine types currently built at Holden's engine operations at Fishermans Bend,'' the company said.

The company said full details of the Family II announcement would be made at a media conference at its Melbourne headquarters at 3pm.

Holden currently employs about 3100 people in Victoria and 6500 nationally, Holden spokesman John Lindsay said. The company is wholly owned by US parent General Motors, which earlier this week announced plans to close four truck factories in North America as demand for its larger vehicles shrinks.

AMWU's Mr Jones said it will try to negotiate with Holden over starting other manufacturing to replace the operations for the four-cylinder engine, which are produced for export to South Korea.

''In the meantime the union will be working to see if we can secure a new product,'' Mr Jones said.

Holden also builds V6 engines in a new $400 million facility opened in 2003.

The Holden job losses follow the release yesterday of a report on the Australian car industry by the Productivity Commission that argued against the Federal Government's plans to invest some $500 million to encourage local producers to build more fuel-efficient cars.

Demand stalls

Record fuel prices have turned many consumers away from the traditional six-cylinder sedans built in Australia by Holden, Ford and Toyota, the remaining local car makers. Higher interest rates are also denting demand for new cars in general.

Earlier this week, monthly data from the Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries showed sales were basically flat in May, compared with the same month a year ago. That result was a sharp slowdown from April when annual growth stood at 11.2%.

The three remaining car makers have been pressing the Federal Government to delay further reductions in car import tariffs and maintain government assistance packages to keep the industry viable.

The rise of lower-cost factories overseas, particularly in China, South Korea and Thailand, has undercut the competitiveness of locally made cars.

The soaring Australian dollar, propelled in large part by the boom in commodity prices, has made the going even tougher for local producers. The Aussie dollar is the strongest among 18 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg this year, gaining 9.25% against the US dollar and about 7% against both the euro and Japanese yen.

Mr Jones of the AMWU said he was disappointed Holden had not waited until the outcome of a federal inquiry into the competitiveness of the car manufacturing industry, being headed by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks.

''You would think at least the company could have held off to see what came out of the inquiry,'' he said.

Mitsubishi hits the skids

The rising costs have already contributed to the loss of local jobs and closure of companies in the industry, including parts makers, with Mitsubishi Motors closing its car assembly plant in Adelaide earlier this year.

The last of Mitsubishi's 380 model rolled off the Tonsley Park production line in March, ending the company's 28-year manufacturing history in Australia, resulting in the loss of about 1000 jobs.

Ford announced mid last year that it would end production of its locally produced six-cylinder engine at its Geelong plant and replace it with an imported V6. Ford will instead assemble its Focus small car at Broadmeadows in northern Melbourne from 2011.

The Broadmeadows plant will absorb some of the resulting 640 job losses from Geelong.

Port Melbourne base

GM Holden's Fisherman's bend operations, near Port Melbourne, serve as the company's Australia headquarters and plays host to two engine manufacturing plants. The plants produce the Family II, 4-cylinder engine.

In 2000, GM opened a global V6 engine plant at the site which supplies the engines for the Asian Pacific market and
European market.

The V6 engines are used in a range of cars from the Holden Commodore to the Saab. At the time of the opening, the plant was expected to have a production capacity of 214,000 engines a year, employing as much as 550 jobs.

Holden would not comment on whether the V6 engine plant would be affected.




Clouds gather over car makers

http://business.theage.com.au/clouds-gather-over-car-makers-20080606-2mmh.html

A fresh round of job cuts in the local car industry is further evidence that Australia is inefficient at most forms of manufacturing.

News today that 500 jobs will be slashed from Holden's Fishermans Bend plant will spark plenty of emotion.

Job cuts are never popular and will cause pain for the workers involved. The Holden announcement follows job losses at Ford's Geelong plant at the end of next year.

Holden, and its rival Ford are national brands. For some, sending the jobs of Ford and Holden overseas is akin to selling the farm.

But Australia is a modern economy and taking the dry approach to the issue, Australia has for long struggled at vehicle manufacturing.

There are several reasons for that. Australia has one of the highest labour input prices in the world, putting the nation at a disadvantage. As the dollar approaches parity with the greenback, cars (or parts) that are produced in Australia are more expensive when they are sold overseas. Cars made overseas are cheaper when imported into Australia.

The closure revealed today does not involve all of Holden's Australian business. Instead, it is the sector that has been producing small four-cylinder engines for export to Korea.

The Holden move follows Mitsubishi's decision to close its Adelaide production, and the estimates show that since 1996, about 11,000 jobs have been scrapped from the vehicle industry.

Economic conservatives advocate letting the free market direct resources where they are most needed.

By that thinking, the 60,000 workers in the Australian car industry would be better and more efficient if deployed elsewhere.

The obvious magnet for those displaced workers would be the resources industry. Their arrival would open the bottlenecks now squeezing Australia's ability to tap surging global demand.

Today's announcement from Holden come just one day after Kevin Rudd moved to restore confidence in the local car industry.

The automotive industry is facing a massive shakeup, with the Steve Bracks-led inquiry into the future of the sector due to report in July. The Federal Government has proposed cutting the tariffs on overseas produced cars from 10% to 5% in a move some believe would obliterate the sector.

With Rudd's assertion that there will always be a car industry in Australia, it will be one that is vastly different to today's industrial structure.

In a speech on World Environment Day on Thursday, when being greener than green is good, Rudd highlighted the fact that as climate change takes hold the Australian industry had to adapt.

His Government has set the ambitious target of reducing emissions by 60% by 2050 - and given Australia's reliance on vehicles and oil-based fuels, the composition of vehicles here has to adjust.

''Australia needs a car industry that uses frontier technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse emissions. Australia needs a car industry clever enough and far-sighted enough to make motoring more affordable to working families and less costly to the planet,'' Rudd said.

''Creating a new generation of fuel-efficient cars may not only make motoring more affordable and reduce our carbon footprint. It may also revitalise the Australian automotive industry. These are all things worth fighting for. These are things which the Australian government stands ready to fight for in partnership with the automotive industry.''

The Bracks report, due next month, will examine how competitive Australian car makers are.

At the moment, it is not very but given Rudd's commitment this week and the issue of national interest, the Government will not withdraw all the support for the car industry, even though the resources would be best used elsewhere.

Australians are still proud of domestic brands. Already we have seen Vegemite, Arnotts and just this week Victa sold to offshore interests. What's next? Of course, General Motors, the US uber-corporation, owns Holden but the retention of workers and a presence in Australia will be key in the rationalisation of the industry.

On the industry's future, the Victorian Government is at loggerheads with their federal counterparts. In a submission to the Bracks inquiry, the State Government is pushing for the retention of the 10% tariff level on imported cars until 2015.

Victoria has the most to lose if the car industry keeps on struggling. The submission shows that in February this year, Victoria had 37,800 of the total 66,300 (57%) of people in Australia who were employed in vehicle and parts manufacture.

On the financial side of the ledger, cars make up 11% of Victoria's total state exports and are the state's largest merchandise export.

In the 2006-2007 financial year, Australia sold 144,000 vehicles overseas of which 96,000 were made in Victoria. The direct export volumes were worth $7 billion to the state.

The State Government has also questioned the economic benefits of the Government's proposed tariff reduction. It cites research from the Productivity Commission that shows general tariff cuts would add just 0.02% in real GDP terms, but the net effect would be negative. The research showed that real household consumption could be depleted by 0.06% - three times the net gain.

The Government's submission to Bracks said: ''Although some firms would simply exit the market, others would respond by finding ways to lower costs that they had previously not had to find - the so called `cold shower' effect.

''In relation to the automotive industry, there appears to be some doubt as to the applicability of the 'cold shower effect'. On the one hand automotive tariff cuts so far have certainly been accompanied by strong productivity growth.

''On the other hand, as various critics have pointed out, this rests on an assumption that firms respond to margin squeezes by simply raising their productivity.''

Given the simple fundamentals of the Australian economy, domestic vehicle production in the current shape is always going to struggle.
 

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I'm sure the 500 workers and families would find this response....hilarious.
It's not a response to the topic, but rather the person who posted the comment.

But like turbo-Coalition supporters like yourself would really give a shit regardless, so get off your high-horse and stop pretending like you do. It doesn't harm you and your family so you don't need to worry. :)
 

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Watch my Chops
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500 more people to the NW!
 

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Chip on my shoulder (BBQ)
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It's not a response to the topic, but rather the person who posted the comment.

But like turbo-Coalition supporters like yourself would really give a shit regardless, so get off your high-horse and stop pretending like you do. It doesn't harm you and your family so you don't need to worry. :)
Touchy touchy.

So I'm a turbo - coalition supporter huh?

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZ - Wrong!

Previously a card carrying Labor Party member and a life long Labor voter.

See Alphaville, despite your well aired opinions across the forum on...um....well, everything, your not as clever as you think.
 

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Touchy touchy.

So I'm a turbo - coalition supporter huh?

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZ - Wrong!

Previously a card carrying Labor Party member and a life long Labor voter.

See Alphaville, despite your well aired opinions across the forum on...um....well, everything, your not as clever as you think.
Your views generally reflect otherwise.

On the negative tirade- again not suprising for you.

Clearly some people in this thread are touchy ones-- maybe a bad choice of topic on my part but ultimately nothing to do with the subject matter.
 

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Right, so you will still be gigling when your taxes go up due to growing dole queues?
You missed my point completely.

Again, regret making the jibe under this topic, which is serious. My bad. Should have found another of QF's "the sky is falling" threads.
 

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...........
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Right, so you will still be gigling when your taxes go up due to growing dole queues?
It would be cheaper to pay every worker in the car manufacturing industry the doll compared to the subsidies we give the industry.

My thoughts are that we should slowly let our car industry die and pump money into building PT vehicles (Brisbane is struggling to construct enough buses and struggling to find people to drive them)

These people will be able to find jobs, they just might have to sacrifice a little to get them, however our nation as a whole are sacrificing to keep them their jobs in this industry.
 

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Crazy young doge man
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You missed my point completely.

Again, regret making the jibe under this topic, which is serious. My bad. Should have found another of QF's "the sky is falling" threads.
sorry, i get what you mean now. lets be friends:)
 

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Crazy young doge man
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It would be cheaper to pay every worker in the car manufacturing industry the doll compared to the subsidies we give the industry.

My thoughts are that we should slowly let our car industry die and pump money into building PT vehicles (Brisbane is struggling to construct enough buses and struggling to find people to drive them)

These people will be able to find jobs, they just might have to sacrifice a little to get them, however our nation as a whole are sacrificing to keep them their jobs in this industry.
The situation you describe is the optimum. two problems though.

1. Regular joes don't care about the good of the country and are not willing to sacrifice anything, they're more worried about what is left in their pocket on payday, and that equals votes

2. Also the Government will never allow private transport to cease, think about all those car owners who pay their registration fees, fill those cars up with taxed fuel and also receive the odd speeding fine ($$$$$$).
 

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...........
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^^

1. there are plenty of jobs around at the moment. perfect time to rid this country of an inefficient industry.

2. If we get rid of the car making industry in Aus. it doesn't mean people will stop buying cars at all. The government will still get the same money from rego, fuel and fines.
 

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Crazy young doge man
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so you don't believe less people will drive cars?
 

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It won't change how many people will drive in the slightest.
 

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Watch my Chops
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"Economic conservatives advocate letting the free market direct resources where they are most needed."

I laughed hard. This Economic conservative has zero meaning what so ever, Economic conservatives prop up industries. Do these economic conservatives argue the coal industry gets the same treatment? :lol:

Rudd is ill advised as usual. Hybrids will be imported from over seas if Ford US or GM bothers producing some. If Ford AUS or Holden wont design and in Holden's case Modify their own engines how the hell are they going to Design a hybrid system. :lol:

General Motors failed in their bid to streamline their operations and are suffering major loses in Australia and overseas. Remove subsides and Holden will close down in 6 years without a rescue plan and Ford could go the same way.
 
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