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by Tim Beissmann

A $63 million government grant awarded to a Melbourne-based power steering and driveline component supplier will create more than 250 local automotive industry jobs and help reduce fuel consumption and emissions around the world.

Nexteer Australia will receive $63 million over the next three years from the Federal Government’s Green Car Innovation Fund (GCIF), as well as additional funding from the Victorian Government.

Nexteer’s technologies include electric power steering systems and lightweight steering column and driveline components. They will be manufactured at the company’s Glen Waverly plant.

Nexteer Australia managing director, Greg Malone, said the grant – the largest awarded to an automotive supply chain firm under the GCIF – would be used to support the company’s innovation and growth plans.

“Our focus is to be globally competitive by utilising the local supply base and skills of the Australian workforce as key partners in this program,” Mr Malone said.

“We see the program being able to leverage manufacturing volumes to offer Australian original equipment manufacturers world?competitive green products and technology through economies of scale.”

Launched in April 2009, the Green Car Innovation Fund was officially shut down in January this year as the Federal Government decided to redirect funds to support rebuilding infrastructure damaged by the floods on the east coast of Australia.

Despite this, the government remains committed to processing the applications submitted before the cut-off date, and rewarding the ones that promise to enhance the research and development and commercialisation of Australian technologies that significantly reduce fuel consumption and/or greenhouse gas emissions of passenger cars.

The $63 million grant awarded to Nexteer Australia is one of the largest ever issued under the GCIF. It matches the investment awarded to Toyota Motor Corporation Australia to support the construction of the Global Engine Line – the facility at the Altona factory that will produce 2.5-litre engines for the seventh-generation Toyota Camry and new Hybrid Camry models.

Victorian Manufacturing, Export and Trade Minister, Richard Dalla-Riva, said the project was a boost for automotive manufacturing in the state.

“Victoria will be one of the few places in the world manufacturing this world-class technology,” Mr Dalla-Riva said.

“This is one of Victoria’s biggest automotive investments in two decades and will further strengthen the sector’s manufacturing and export capabilities.”




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