Toyota to end Australian car manufacturing by 2017
11th Feb 2014 5:39 pm
The Japanese firm's decision follows similar announcements from Ford and General Motors in the past 12 months.
Toyota will stop making cars in Australia by 2017. The Japanese firm's decision follows similar announcements from Ford and General Motors in the past 12 months, and leaves Australia with no local car production from 2018.
All three firms will remain in the market as importers. Ford will stop producing models in Australia by 2016, and General Motors will end production of Holden cars in the country by the end of 2017.
Toyota blames the high cost of manufacturing and a low-volume supply chain for the decision, while also citing unfavourable exchange rates with the Australian dollar. "It is not viable to continue building cars in Australia," read a statement from the company.
Around 2500 people will be "impacted" by the decision, confirmed Toyota's Australian boss Max Yasuda. "Although the company has made profits in the past, our manufacturing operations have continued to be loss-making despite our best efforts," he said.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, which represents over 1,30,000 people in the country says the move is "devastating" and the decision represented the government's "refusal to support investment in Australia, and a lack of support and respect for Australian workers".
GM also blamed the strength of the Australian dollar for its exit in December, saying that at its peak, producing a vehicle in the country was 65 percent more expensive than 10 years previously.
Toyota started making cars in Australia in 1963, but following the exit of Mitsubishi and Ford, it was Holden that was left as the sole vehicle maker in the country at the end of last year. At the time, Toyota officials were reported as saying they would review the company's position in Australia.
Models currently made at Toyota's factory near Melbourne include the Camry, Camry Hybrid and Aurion saloon, as well as a range of four-cylinder engines. While the Camry will be imported from Japan from 2017, the Aurion will be axed completely.