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by Tim Beissmann

Ford and Holden have banded together to support embattled parts supplier Autodom in an arrangement that ensures both manufacturers can continue production of their Australian-made cars.

In an unprecedented act of solidarity between the two traditional rivals, the local car makers agreed to underwrite the debts of Autodom Limited, which shut its doors last Thursday, went into administration over the weekend and was placed in receivership on Tuesday.

Ford and Holden have taken on Autodom’s approximate $6.5 million debt in an arrangement that is understood to have been distributed equitably between both car companies.

The agreement means it is business as usual for Ford’s assembly plant in Broadmeadows, Victoria and Holden’s manufacturing facility in Elizabeth, South Australia, while workers at Autodom’s subsidiaries aiAutomotive in Woodville, South Australia and Dair Industries in Dandenong and Gisborne, Victoria have also returned to their production lines.

Holden external communications director Craig Cheetham said the company’s collaboration with Ford was an encouraging show of the industry’s ability to pull together in the interest of the greater good.

“We often talk about the broader effect of jobs in the industry reliant on Holden and Ford and this is an example of us ensuring that those people can go back to work,” Cheetham said.

“It means that we see continued supply into the plant and it gives the receivers time to look at which areas of the former Autodom business they want to sell off.

“I think over the coming months we’ll see some kind of fragmentation of the previous Autodom company into various smaller parts and those business will be sold off, but that’s a job for the receivers to do.”

Keith Crawford and Rob Kirman from McGrathNicol were yesterday appointed as receivers over Autodom Limited and six of its subsidiaries.

Crawford said it was their objective to work constructively with Autodom’s key stakeholders over the coming days to stabilise operations in order to facilitate a thorough assessment of each business units’ financial position and prospects and to prepare viable business units for sale.

“In the interim we will be liaising closely with employees and unions, customers and suppliers to ensure minimal disruption to operations and to the Australian automotive industry through the resumption of supply of critical components as soon as possible,” he said.

The process is expected to take a number of months, over which time the local car makers do not anticipate disruption to parts supply or the continuity of vehicle production.

Autodom supplies more than 400 different components to Ford Australia, roughly 100 to Holden, two to Toyota Australia for its new cars and more for its spare parts division.




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