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Holden has announced it will open dialogue with its manufacturing workforce to reduce the cost of building vehicles in Australia.

At a press conference in Melbourne today, Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mike Devereux, admitted the discussion will be a difficult but necessary step to secure the company’s manufacturing future in this country.

“No doubt that we are one of the highest cost places in the world, [the] highest penalty we face is labour costs,” said Devereux. “Today is about labour cost reductions”.

Holden manufacturing 2

According to the Holden MD, it costs about $3750 more to build a car in Australia than it does to import it.

He also claims that Holden is currently losing money in the local production of the Commodore and Cruze, while making money from imports such as the Captiva and Colorado, a situation that he believes needs to change.

“Our reality is that our cost per car is too high and it needs to come down. [We are having an] open discussion and putting everything on the table,” Devereux (below) added.

Holden manufacturing 4

Nonetheless Devereux was adamant that Holden is still committed to building cars in Australia. He noted that over the past 12 years, although Holden has received $1.8 billion in government assistance packages, it had pumped $32.7 billion into the Australian economy.

The Holden plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, is already facing voluntary redundancies in August that will affect roughly 400 employees, but today’s announcement has potential to raise that number further.

“We try and price the cars aggressively, but there’s no question that the equation of being able to manage the Adelaide facility has changed even in the last 18 months,” continued Devereux. “We don’t make money making cars in this country, we make money importing cars, and we need to change that equation.”

Holden Manufacturing - 3

Devereux also confirmed that Holden was in talks with both the Gillard government and opposition to develop a strategic approach to manufacturing in this country.

Asked if the cost-per-car manufacturing reduction measures will also affect the non-manufacturing workers, such as Holden executives, Devereux said that Holden has not increased the wages of more than half its award-free workers for the last three year. He argues that the company strives to pay average or below average wages for positions across the whole company.

“Our goal is to not to pay anything but the median or average pay,” he said. “Myself included make below average [pay] for the role in this company.”

Holden Manufacturing - 2

Devereux said Holden will be open to all ideas and suggestions from the unions and workers, but that ultimately the cost per car has to be reduced to secure the future of local manufacturing.

“Broadly speaking we need to have discussion with the entire workforce. We will be doing these discussions privately. Today is the first step.

“This is about giving Holden employees a direct say in their future. We can’t survive as a local manufacturer if we’re not competitive and we don’t reduce our costs. All options for improving productivity are on the table. We will work closely with the unions and our people to develop a fair and reasonable proposal in line with other local manufacturers across all industries.”


Although ‘discussion’ has commenced today, Holden expects to have agreed to an outcome by August, with Devereux arguing that there’s not a lot of time left to have these discussions.

“It has to be done in August, theres no question that [it must be done in August] in order for us to be able to secure a long term manufacturing future, and bring the program of two new architectures to the Elizabeth plant,” he said.

Holden currently makes the Holden Cruze and Commodore in Australia.

  • peddy.d

    I honestly don’t know what to say to this announcement, it is very sad news indeed. No company should ever strive to pay their workers below average wage as that doesn’t reward the workers for their hard work but given Holden’s circumstances it seems they really don’t have much choice

    • Hung Low

      They all love to point the fingers to the people in the coal face and how much they cost in labour, but dig a bit deeper and like most western corporations you would gross mis-management in resources, an over the top corporate structure, tiers of management titles to offset responsibility and proper subject matter expertise, an overtly complex and retarded I.T sector, excess of B.A’s and project managers working on future projects that never reflect on the end product and bean counters that cap the abilities of the design, engineering and R&d teams. I bet the CEO has not walked the floors of his factories in months nor spoken to the people that matter, instead he relies on the fudged figures and lies bestowed upon him. All is never as it seems…. Rant over!

      • ha

        Unfortunate but true!

      • $29896495

        Exactly right

      • Corporal Clegg

        The costs are vastly higher for production in Australia mainly due to factors outside Holden’s influence. Think militant unions for one. Your average car worker is paid extremely well given the relatively unskilled nature of the job. This is what happens when big unions, big government and big business get together, taxpayers’ money is wasted and businesses still fail.

        • Hung Low

          You need to look at Germany as an example, how do they manage with high wages and an even more unionised workforce? Lean efficiency and discipline is the key not arrogance and short sightedness.

    • HSV FPV

      For the meantime the Government should drop the luxury car tax for HSV and FPV cars straight away. This would reduce the cost of the new HSV GTS by about $11,000.

      It confuses me why we have to pay the LCT on vehicles manufactured in Australia.

      • ash

        It confuses me why you think the luxury car tax is a import tax.

        However if you were to say that Australia does not produce any cars worthy of being considered Luxury, I might agree

        • $29896495

          Look at the price of a base Commodore, can you really see all that extra money in it to make it an HSV. Honestly NO. GM isn’t on the bones of it’s backside, despite what this joker says. Every year they put pressure on the gov and workers to drive pay down and get hand outs. I really think it’s time they followed Ford. Let Toyota expand here or get a Korean manufacturer in.

      • Corporal Clegg

        I believe HSV are profitable, as opposed to Holden. A LCT is a truly ridiculous thing – we don’t have “luxury” taxes on other pleasures such as private jets or yachts or high end jewelry or caviar. The entire concept is an utter nonsense and smacks of greed and envy. The government makes more on a more expensive car anyway given that the GST bill is higher. An extra slug is really just an envy tax.

        • $29896495

          GMH do this every year at this time it’s how they do business. It has nothing to do with excessive pay. It’s about getting a hand out. And it should stop. If Toyota can make it work well enough to want to expand it’s operation, Holden can too.

  • Martin

    I read the other day that the workers building these cars are on $50 an hour. That is insane money for a manufacturing job. I’m a third year graduate with a large mining company and I don’t even get that an hour!

    • O123

      Exactly, the union morons are pricing themselves out of the market. Im a graduate and I’m only on about $40 an hour. Then these workers get all the extra help when they get layed off, no other industry gets so much help.

      • Hung Low

        Do you feel you deserve more because you are a graduate? Because you are welcome to work a second job like plenty of minimum wage workers have to.

        • Anuj

          The degree didn’t come free, and if it brings more benefits to the equation then yes, they should get more. People study hard to get those degrees and if they can improve the work environment with those degrees and education, then they should be rewarded highly for it. Its about keeping expectations realistic- The unions will end the manufacturing in this country.

          • Daniel D

            The number of graduates from our Universities has increased dramatically over the last three decades. The quality of the degrees themselves has equally dropped.

            You need a HSC now to work at McDonalds and frankly you need an Arts Degree to do a basic desk job. Nothing special about the qualification or the people holding them.

          • Hung Low

            Just because a candidate has a degree it does not mean:

            a) They are capable of the job

            b) Have motivation or drive to deliver a desired result

            c) Have any scope to deal with a changing environment, react to pressure,, be a reliable employee….shall I go on?

            I believe people should be payed on their merits, which also means I am not a fan of parity pay with unionisation either.

          • Anuj

            How is that different from what I have said? Exactly my point- it should not be guaranteed high salary just because you have a degree…..if they are adding value however, they should be rewarded justly. My comment is the same as yours. I think people need to read the comment, understand it…..shall i go on?. Grasp the concept before posting a reply.

      • Rick

        That’s an interesting comment . On one hand you are complaining about the unions pricing workers out of the market yet you’re getting paid about $18 per hour more than a floor worker at Holden . I think I know where the money can be cut

        • Anuj

          Well the cuts need to be made throughout…….i don’t think a degree should guarantee you a high salary. If your role is not adding value or if you cannot bring efficiency to the process, then whats the point? High wages thanks to the unions are the major issue but its not the only issue, the paper pushers and unnecessary top heavy mid management approaches need to go as well.

          • Daniel D

            So using your hands to actually build something isn’t adding value, but thinking about it does?

          • Anuj

            Did you read what I said? Or do you just post for the heck of it? Where did I, anywhere in my post suggest that? I said cuts need to be made throughout……….right across the board- not just the manufacturing floor.

      • guest

        Being a graduate shouldn’t automatically entitle you to gold-plated pay-packets.

        Because there is probably a graduate who can do your job elsewhere in the world for less, with better efficiency than you can. If you do $40 per hour, then they can probably do it at $20/hour or less. Can you match that level of productivity?

        The entitlement mentality you’ve demonstrated is the problem here. I think the other comment below about working a second job is a very good one – and a good way to pay off education debt.

        • F1orce

          You shouldn’t compare absolute costs and wages between countries.

          Even if Holden etc pay workers more here, they’re already charging more for their product!

          The only thing this country actually realistically would need are tariffs on imported goods.

          But that probably won’t ever happen.

          • $29896495

            That is a very relevant point. Due to having no more capital producing services, the Government needs people to be paid more to fun taxes to pay for requirements. Therefore a higher cost of living is required to keep the country afloat. A larger population with a smaller cost of living achieves the same result. They maybe paid more but the end product costs in some cases 35-50% more, thus offsetting the higher wage.

            In relation to tariffs, people keep forgetting GM Ford and Toyota lobbied the government to start reducing tariffs. They also lobbied for 0% tariff for their imports as long as they produce cars here. Once that went through, they have been winding back as far as they can go. Now the model set out by Ford is, we won’t build cars here but we’ll keep our design office open so you MUST continue to give us 0% tariffs on our imported cars.

            It’s always been about importing and finding any excuse to do it.

        • Anuj

          “Being a graduate shouldn’t automatically entitle you to gold-plated pay-packets.”- Agreed- you have to be able to add strong value to your role/company before you can demand a strong wage- regardless of you having a degree or not.

          “Because there is probably a graduate who can do your job elsewhere in the world for less, with better efficiency than you can.” This comment is true for the people on the manufacturing floor as well. The built quality of Commodores or Falcons of the past illustrate this point rather well.

          “If you do $40 per hour, then they can probably do it at $20/hour or less”. Good point, but again- valid for the manufacturers as well.

          Its the same principle- being an Aussie Labourer should not guarantee you higher wages (thanks to the unions) to the extent where the business is now struggling to keep afloat.

          • $29896495

            You do realize there are white collar unions as well. Also if not for them their would be no minimum wage or health benefits or sick pay etc for ANYONE not only Manufacturing. If you look deeply enough people in labouring jobs as you put it get paid often less than they are worth. Every job requires a skill set of some sort. I highly doubt if we threw you on a production line that you would be able to bolt together a car with any expertise quickly. They get paid reasonable money because often cases they are doing a job which job repetitive dangerous uncomfortable needs knowledge and physical ability. You have to also take into account the government wants everyone to get higher wages, you can’t get enough tax to run the country if people are working for intern wages “0”. Of course that’s a result of Libs selling off infrastructure which paid the government money. You can’t have it both ways.

      • $29896495

        What about your benefits that blow that figure out but you don’t pay tax on?

      • Phil

        how much help do you think these workers got a few years ago, when Holden stood them down on half pay? It’s just nonsense to blame unions – a convenient right wing catch cry that has no basis in reality in the car industry. Only yesterday The Age reported average earnings in the Adelaide plant is $55k a year, which is median income in SA and well behind every other state except Tasmania. It’s $11k a year behind NSW’s median income. They are not highly paid, in fact they are the victims here.

        Do you reckon you could survive in Australia with our cost of living, while being paid Thai level wages? Because that is what is being implied to make Holden’s local products profitable. Not just for Holden’s workers, but their outside suppliers as well. And FWIW, you would struggle to buy a car that wasn’t built by a union workforce.

    • Phil

      Don’t know where you read that – News Ltd reported in April that workers in Holden’s Adelaide plant earn between $45k and $70k a year. At $45k, that’s about $22 an hour.

      • Hung Low

        To put that in perspective, a non technical skill base role such as loading/unloading containers pays more than that.

    • Karl Sass

      As I understood it, it costs the business $50 an hour, their actual take home pay would be significantly lower.

      • Mad Max

        Your spot on. When looking at the costs of a worker, you need to factor in things like superannuation, sick + holiday pay, insurance, payroll tax and any other add ons that the local state governments mandate. If a worker is paid $22/hour, the true cost to the employer is close to $45/hour.

        • Get the figures correct

          It is called oncost, and it is about 20% of wages.

    • JoeR_AUS

      If you check the ABS weekly earnings a Union Worker in SA gets average $1080 a week, a manager gets average $1262 a week. $182 Gross difference a week.

      Which would you rather be?

      • Rick

        Not sure how them figures come about . My uncle has worked at Holden for over 10yrs and has just gone from a $61k job (supervisor ) to floor manager , i think job ( can’t remember exact title ) and his wage has gone upto $194k plus car and expense account . As most people know its middle management jobs that are overpaid and wasteful . Remember managers don’t make money . Eg if a manager goes sick there is no loss of productivity if workers go sick there is . It’s really pretty simple

    • Zaccy16

      i agree, thats huge money for a manufacturing job! no wonder they don’t make a profit

      • Martin

        My beef is really that I have paid nearly 50k for a double degree, I work in central Queensland away from my long term friends and close family, and work underground in a unclean environment, and can guarantee that my ROI for my salary would be significantly higher for the company and for Australia than a vehicle manufacturing position, and yet I am paid less, my industry has significantly higher taxes, royalities and red tape to deal with. These manufacturing employees need to get real about their exorbitant salaries. If they don’t then they’ll see layoffs like at Ford. FYI I love my job, just using it as a comparison.

    • Marka

      AU$50 per hour can’t be right, as this would be cheaper than GM’s hourly cost per worker in the US, latest numbers that i can find show that GM is reducing costs in the USA and by 2015, the aim is for GM’s total cost for wages and benefits will be about US$59 an hour, compared with US$56 at Toyota.

      • F1orce

        Yeah but that $59 per hour also includes medical, insurance etch which are deducted.

        So workers make probably $25-30 per hour which is still very good for USA

  • Shak

    Heres a way to ensure people keep getting paid well, and Holden can keep making cars here. Hows about our Government steps up its game to help bring costs down throughout the automotive industry not by handing out money, or increasing tariffs. No, they need to bring down the cost of raw materials (excluding labour). Make it easier and more cost effective for Holden and Toyota to source parts or materials locally so that they can offset the very high labour costs they face here.

    The second, and probably just as effective way would be to ensure our trade partners are paying by the rules which we agreed to. If we have an FTA with them and our goods aren’t being sold their absolutely free trade, then we should retaliate and act just the same. They have to make it easier for our locals to export because with demand levels for locally produced cars being where they are, both Holden and Toyota cannot sustain their operations here. Export or die.

    • marc

      your economic argument is incoherent and contradictory

  • Daniel D

    Translation. Hey guys we just dropped the prices of all Commodore models by thousands and someone has to pay for it. You didn’t think we were taking it out of profits did you?

    • Sheldon

      Haha! Translation 2: People, the numbers are bad. We all have to sacrifice for the company…so everyone not named Deveraux will take a paycut. Thank you. – CEO

      • $29896495

        Translation 3: Make sure we get paid for making bad business and market decisions, no matter what the cost to the worker.

        • Dr sheldon cooper

          Translation 4: …and to show i feel the pain of redundant workers, i will sacrifice and take only a bonus of $15m instead of $25M – CEO

  • Bob

    Good buy Holden, thanks for the GTS Monaro’s!

  • Brett

    Even with the government funding Cruze is still a loss maker? Looks like Ford was right when they decidednot to build the Focus in Australia.

    • $29896495

      If think you have to take a lot of what they say with a grain of salt. Here’s an example. GM wasn’t actually the company that bought out Daewoo. Holden was. This created a loss. The GM head office takes control of GMHD from GMH. That creates another loss. Holden and holden engines are one company, they split it in two. Holden needs an engine it has to buy it of Holden engine. Another loss. See where I’m going with this.

      Just as a side note, GM come from a country that pays the bottom end of the work force, NOTHING (internships) or next to nothing – manufacturing workers. While over paying management.

      As Australians we need to keep this in perspective and stop listening to what this jerk says every time he wants a hand out. It is coming to the point where we should take the pain and and let Holden go and encourage Toyota to build as many different types of cars here it can.

      • JoeR_AUS

        Lots of loss going on here but really even in the Federal Government gave 1,000,000,000 a year to Holden it would be 0.6 % of GM revenue

        • $29896495

          You realise that’s a billion dollars? You also realize that they made a gross of 17.01 Billion. Your math doesn’t work.

          • JoeR_AUS

            I was using GM sales which was 152.26B so 1 billion is 0.6%

      • F1orce

        Very true statement there huwtm

  • Autoholic

    Create a Holden village for employees, similar to Wolfsburg and Toyota City to reduce living costs.

    • Zaccy16

      that used to be geelong for ford!

      • Autoholic

        It’s no secret our high living costs makes us less globally competitive. If living costs were less workers would need less pay and we could increase profitability.

        • $29896495

          what prey tell is wrong with that comment? I expect to see it posted!

  • gtbj

    I remember when a certain person was holden CEO and we were getting screwed by holden for a 5cent cost reduction on a part. I suggested that this CEO should take a 50% pay reduction and only recieve 1million per year therefore taking $5 out of the cost of each car. They didnt like that suggestion.

    • Poison_Eagle

      P____ H_________?

  • marc

    holden and toyota are experts at media propaganda to exude money from the fed gov.

    • Karl Sass

      They’re not very good at it than considering Australia has some of the least subsidised automotive industries in the world.

      • $29896495

        Getting back to that the countries that pay more money actually keep their companies profits. They don’t go overseas. They also built a bigger variety of cars and have many more companies. Hence they pay more. If you do the math, they actually pay less by manufacturer and car produced.

        • Shak

          So you’re telling me that when Thailand protects the GM and Ford plants in its country by placing some insane high tariffs on imported cars, the profits will stay in Thailand?

          • $29896495

            I’m not telling you anything, I’m telling everyone. I made no mention of Thailand or tariffs,

            I was talking the examples given by others. Thailand has a simple plan. Lock out outsiders, take as many manufacturing industries as possible. Industrialise. Employs and gives it’s citizens skills and the country money. Other than doing this what do they have, other than tourism. They want to move into the first world and this is how they are doing it. At some point, it won’t be cheap to build there and when that happens they’ll be left with empty factories and NO industries. they still aren’t putting as much money in as Germany.

  • marc

    for those who dont understand economics, think of our car industry in football terms… imagine an nrl team with 7 players paid 500k each, or an afl team with 10 players on 500k each, …do you think theyll win a game? we simply cant compete with world scale and tipping tax dollars into a losing game.

    • Jim

      But didn’t Toyota Australia recently announce a profit? It’s ridiculous to just give-up on our car industry because it’s currently a tough time.

      • marc

        a profit based on how much govt $$$. aus made cars sales are heading south and imports are growing. most of toyotas profitable cars are imported.

        • BigJ

          Australias auto industry receives the least govt support per capita, compared to most car producing countries. Most countrys highly protect their auto industries (such as Thailand) as they have a huge multiplier effect on the economy, and its a shame that a lack of solid government trade policy hurts our manufacturers

          • marc

            the problem is that less and less people are buying aus cars regardless of tariffs, taxes, aud. no sales = no industry and we continue to pour tax dollars into a product no one wants. its sad reality, unfortunately. our country may need to invest in other industries.

          • $29896495

            when they build the wrong products what do you expect. If they built the right cars and trucks – for example Volvo have a truck manufacturing plant in this country which isn’t in trouble. Toyota isn’t in trouble. It’s fishing for dollars with dodgy books.

          • guest

            If they build a 4 cylinder SUV, I won’t buy it – because it isn’t the right car for my needs or wishes. I don’t want to follow everyone else.

            At the moment, you could put a VW or Toyota badge on the old Ssangyong Stavic and it would be the top selling car. It’s not about the right car, it’s about having the right badge.

        • Phil

          Our $$$ is heading south, and if that continues the situation for local carmakers will stabilise to a degree. Look back and see how much our currency has moved to have an idea of the impact – in 2007 our dollar went from US 78c to 93c in the space of 3 months, in 2008 it went from 93 to 60c in 3 months. The trading environment can shift quite rapidly,

      • JoeR_AUS

        Toyota AUS market is mainly export based, there is no volume in Australia, hence no profit for Holden and Ford.

      • Name game

        Toyota announced a profit of 148.5 million recenty. I presume it was on locally produced vehicles.

        • JoeR_AUS

          Yes, 70% of Toyota production in Australia is export bound.

          • $29896495

            hat’s locally produced so thats a YES

          • Matt

            On two models they sell? Out of the biggest range in the country, they import more vehicles then they locally manufacture, I’m sure more of their profits come from importing Hiluxes from Thailand then locally made camrys

    • JoeR_AUS

      Its not how much you pay for the players but what they generate is the Question.

      11 players playing 11 games a year on 500k or 11 players playing 44 games a year on 500k, which Team will generate more revenue? VW has one factory that can produce 500,000 cars a year, where Ford is doing about 40,000 cars a year in Aus.

  • BigJ

    This is sad to hear, as I am a fan of locally produced goods. Devereux is foolish for making these comments to the public as it damages the Holden Brand’s perception in Aus.
    Additionally, he needs to realise that the imported models are preceived as substandard, finishing towards the bottom of their respective categories and not stable foundations on which to build a brand. Commodore, Calais and Caprice (and maybe Cruze) are the badges that Holden should focus on as they are great, critically acclaimed cars, especially the VF. Deveraux should standi behind these great products and not undermine them with these announcements.

    • kunyo

      Well said!

    • Anuj

      I agree with these sort of statements not to be made in public, it really does damage the brand. But the commodore and the falcon weren’t of the highest standards to begin with (the new commodore is much better). And how is Cruze Australian made??? Also the styling of the Cruze and the market it competes in is a worry. What we need is a new foundation of car manufacturing in AUS along with a tighter leash on the unions to keep the cost per car manageable.

    • baz

      Stand behind what?

      They cannot make money on the cruze or comm.

      They cannot survive without taxpayer welfare.

      Holden is no longer a business, its a branch of the

      public service.

      How many times have we heard about efficiency

      improvements, best practice etc and still thay cannot

      make money.

      Here is the paradox, once you are on the taxpayer

      teat making money and being more efficient becomes

      secondary, you get rewarded for failure not success.

      • $29896495

        They can obviously do it if they want, the thing is as you allude to, they don’t want to. This is the annual or bi annual pilgrimage to Canberra for dollars. They managed to clear their debt to the US gov in record time. But want to keep feeding down here.

        • JoeR_AUS

          Both of you should read the “Trade & Assistance Review 2011-12″ as every industry gets assistance from the government in some form. Look at the Finance industry got almost 1Billion and tax concession of 845Million.

          ABC quote: in regards to the automotive subsidies provided by governments. From memory: $18 per annum per person here in Aus, approx $400 in Germany and over $1000 in the US.

          • $29896495

            You’ve missed the point again. Going back to another post of mine, Those countries that give that amount of subsidy, produce many more cars and have many more HOME GROWN manufacturers. Germany, VW Audi Ford Opel Mercedes BMW to name but six. Now of those six, FIVE are German native. Each one of them produces a full range of cars. micro up to limo. You are talking between six and twelve distinct model lines per manufacturer.

            So divide that $400 between each manufacturer, then each model line, you will find it’s less ($5.50 per model) than if the same equation is done with two or three non Australian car builders, and the single + CKD Cruze line of cars. So 1 (one) car per builder ($6.00)

          • JoeR_AUS

            except you forgot Germany has 4 times the Australian population. so using your maths $5.50 * 4 = $22.00

            Also, why does the finance industry need more government help than Manufacturing?

          • $29896495

            That’s irrelevant. So what it has more population. The issue was cost per model line. We actually pay more than the Germans. The fact they have more population means our contribution is actually higher when split amongst population.

  • Sheldon

    The brits LOVE the Monaros, Falcons and Commodores. GMH and Ford (hopefully not too late yet) should try harder to SELL these great cars in America….on their MERITS and NOT on fire sale. The huge US and Chinese amrket can easily rescue Aussie jobs. Maybe…

  • MW

    I hope the people that keep saying Ford should’ve built the Focus here read this story

  • Tony Abbotts No1 Fan

    Car manufacturers simply cannot make money based on current sales level. To say export or die ignores the basic premise that even worth exports they still don’t have the demand to cover costs.

    Manufacturers in Australia compete with the Euro’s who have a significantly larger market to sell into, let alone comparing to the Asian based manufactured vehicles, where not only is the cost of building vehicles a fraction compared to Australia, but they also have much larger export markets.

    At the moment, the only car manufacturer in Oz that’s likely to survive is Toyota, mainly because the Camry is essentially the same car made here as the one made in the US & wherever they’re made, whereas the Falcon & Commodore are only made here, it just won’t add up.

    It’s worrying to read this article, because it almost sounds like its a soften up before the really bad news eventually comes out that GM/Holden will do what Ford did for exactly the same reason, they just can’t make enough money to justify staying in business here.

    • $29896495

      Not with the wrong cars they can’t. So who do you blame for that. Workers or management?

  • AlexII

    Like Nissan, Mitsubishi and now Ford, Holden will be closed down by the media, sad but true.

    • Anuj

      Yup, it will have nothing to do with the substandard product or the fact that as a business model, the whole thing is unsustainable. Well done…

      • Tim

        Are you sure about ‘substandard product?’ Read all the reviews of the new Commodore and Cruze. If Australians just showed a little patriotism when it came to car buying like every single other country that produces cars in the world, Holden would be doing fine.

        • Anuj

          You mean lower their expectations?? Misguided Patriotism does not do any favors to anyone in the long run. The Commodore (exception being the new one which is significantly better value for money) and the Cruze (which still has suspect built quality) have been substandard for a long time. This isn’t a mindless rant, I want Aussie built cars to do well, but will only support them if they are worth it in my opinion. This has got nothing to do with Patriotism, just common sense and appealing to the value for money proposition. The market has changed and the business that is Holden/GM has been slow to respond. Still, lets see where the future takes them.

        • F1orce

          Look at around. How many ‘Australians’ do you see on a daily basis?

          This is a heterogenous society and that also part of the issue..

    • F1orce

      The only reason Holden hasn’t closed down yet is because the Oz government is pouring bucket loads of cash and the execs at GM America are benefiting from the money tree to inrich their fat balances..

  • Sofa King Hot

    Other than rusted on Holden buyers in their 60s ANC older… Who wants a Dunnydore and a Crudze? Better options out there.

    • Corporal Clegg

      Please share, who is selling an equally powerful and well-equipped large sedan for the same money as, say a Holden Calais V in this country? *crickets chirping*

    • Daniel D

      Maybe people who can spell want Commodore’s and Cruze’s.

  • Bondie

    Its sad but true Holden will soon cease production as with Ford. Imports will get bigger by both companies..

  • gibbut

    if this is all the case, why is the new commodore so much cheaper to buy than the last one??? leave the price where it was, and keep paying the workers.

    afterall commodore doesnt have much competition does it?

    • Corporal Clegg

      Reason is that nobody was paying the RRP anyway. The price drop just reflects a number closer to what people where actually paying. The Commodore, whilst being an excellent large car, has massive competition from other cars in the mid to small car sector as many people are turning to smaller vehicles.

  • save it for the track

    There has been systemic dismantling of Australian Tariffs over many decades, which have led to the closure a raft of Manufacturing industries. Whilst successive Australian Governments have been trumpeting ‘free trade’, and lowering Tariffs, other countries have not followed, and/or have changed ‘free trade agreements’ at the last minute. (e.g. Thailand adding a last minute stipulation as regards vehicles with engines over 3.5 litres). Why have successive governments and why do our politicians try and see Australia as some sort of leader to be followed on the world stage when it comes to the lowering or removal of tariffs, and the introduction of ill thought out carbon taxes and the like? Clothes, whitegoods, electronics, none made here anymore. Motor vehicles, soon none to be made here anymore. Farms being sold off to foreign interests (and in some cases foreign Governments [China]). Public utilities sold off in Government fire sales, rising insurance and other costs for us the consumers. What future for Australia? Keatings ‘banana republic’ appears an increasing certainty for the future.


    $3,750 more to manufacture a vehicle here? Surely that figure is dependent on exchange rates.
    Strange how over the years car manufacturers have relied on and demanded Government assistance, yet a European truck Manufacturer has been making and continues to make trucks here and has never asked for or received any Government assistance.
    Can any of us imagine trying to start up a company with a business plan that Holden appears to be operating on? “Mr Banker, lend me some money, I want to manufacture product X, I’m going to be inefficient and provide variable quality, and demand Government assistance, oh, yes, and I am a subsidiary of an overseas multi national conglomerate that was bailed out by a foreign Government in recent years…I’m also going to rely on nostalgia, and ignore where the market is at or is going at the moment”. ‘Oh, and if I continue to fail, I’ll blame the cost of wages in this country and the Unions.”
    Who would invest in that?

    • $29896495

      Look that was done with the advice of these very manufacturers. So they could reduce their need to build heer and make greater profits. They pay 0 tariffs for their imports. That is what they wanted.

    • Corporal Clegg

      You’ve made a very good point. It’s incredible how, as a country of 23 million, we think we can “lead” the world in areas that require a huge amount of faith and potential hardship, the rewards for which are dependent on others also keeping their word. You are dead right about the foolishness of our little country reducing tariffs when others keep or increase theirs.

    • JoeR_AUS

      You should read the Trade & Asiistance Review 2011-12, every industry gets some form of assistance: eg
      Budgetary assistance by industry grouping 2012

      Motor vehicle and parts 620m, Financial and insurance services 914m

      Tax concessions by Industry Groups

      Motor vehicle and parts 40m, Financial and insurance services 845m

      The But plan was to reduce manufactures based on volume, so we don’t have multiple players supported by the Government and Taxes(us), the volume were talking of is at least 60,000 units a year. So we are down to three manufactures, but what has happened is we have now 200 different models available, so the pie is smaller for everyone. The Mazda 3, the top selling car, only sells around 30,000 vehicles a year.

      The only way we can have a local industry is they need to be export based, like Toyota which exports 70% of the cars it makes in Australia. Holden and Ford need to redevelop there production line and model range for global cars only and supply for export markets and compete here for crumbs.

      Otherwise, sad to say the only business model viable is Toyota!

  • $29896495

    First option – stop the BS. Second option for workers, don’t be blackmailed. Striving to be below average. bet you any money he doesn’t get paid below average. Maybe it’s time for them to go too, rather than this constant gun to the head behaviour.

    • JoeR_AUS

      If you look at GM before chapter 11, The union benefits meant Nissan, Honda could produce a $12,000 car with USA workers that GM could not do for $13,500. GM went chapter 11 and broke the unions and rebuilt.

      I wander if the same thing is going on here? However, make no mistake GM will leave and “Holden” will be no more as there will be only GM imported cars!

  • Clem

    Who put the cookies in the cookie jar? Not me! Is it you (Holden CEOs)?

  • mick of adelaide

    ok let me set 1 thing straight…holden workers are not on $50 an hour, the average wage of a shop floor worker is $29 dollars an hour, the over inflated figures you read about are calculated on oh&s costs, super contribution, work cover etc now take 20% off $29 an hour and you are left with a very average pay for the extremely hard and fantastic work skills and knowledge they provide this great company, and yes i did say great company.
    is business in australia expensive compared to china? of course, but could you pay your bills on $3 an hour that chinese workers get? i doubt it.
    a very heavy upper management is the first place they should look at cutting costs, our goverment needs to get in there and have a look at their books and find out exactly who is doing what for their pay in order to make an informed decision on co investment with aussie tax dollars instead of just taking some yanks word for it.
    holden build great cars and the vf is amazing, if you haven’t looked at one yet i urge you to do so and with the massive price cuts offered on every model it’s a good time to give the aussie boys and girls a fair go. i have a calais v on order and i am proud i can help support the men and women who will deliver the best car i have ever owned.
    let’s keep aussie workers in jobs, if you are not in the market for a new car just spend a few minutes looking at where the products you buy in the supermarket come from, australians everywhere need all the support we can give them

    • GT

      The VF is not amazing, it’s just another govt pay out car from other hard working tax payers who don’t want overrated, average, slightly updated VE large cars, all these years they have supplied below standard quality resulting in costly recalls (VE), reliability and warranty issues.

      I will not support something that I basically do not want in my garage, so stop the silly hype like the rest of your Holden calamity >>>> mick from Adelaide..

      • JoeR_AUS

        first you should visit “Product Safety Recalls Australia” web site and have a look at the recalls for Toyota – 2013

        Toyota—Toyota Prius ZVW307th June 2013
        Toyota—Corolla ZZE122 and Avensis Verso ACM20 Passenger-Side Front Airbag12th April 2013
        Toyota—Lexus SC430 Passenger-Side Front Airbag12th April 2013
        Toyota—Toyota FJ Cruiser GSJ15 (Updated 22/04/2013)27th March 2013

        funny how Holden has not had 1 this year.

        So you would not support anything that is not in your garage, well that would cut out 99% of the car industry!

        What about the revenue Holden generates to the Australian economy and the sub industries it buys from and the work it generates, about 250,000 people support our Car making Industry, I guess you will not mind the increased taxes when the government revenue decreases?

        • GT

          You are just repeating the same boring old story, importing is cheaper as even (Holden) admit, read the story above its a true story, you might aswell call it a chev then slap a bow tie badge on it anyway saving hard worker’s from buying the badges from ebay and and attaching them self’s, get my point.

          LOOK around you when your on the road, notice the lion is losing the battle because unpatriotic people couldn’t care less if it was made in Australia Ford included, Holden may have dropped the prices to be viable but in doing so will have to drop the wages from the very people who built the car. does not make sense in reality, because if the workers are making less then the less they will spend at the shop, so retailers, tourism, other manufacturing jobs etc, suffer across the nation, a vicious circle isn’t it.

          When govt pump money into manufacturing it has to be for the reason of making profit in the future not to immediately fill the pockets of large corporations like GM, who cant justify incompetent CEO’s and floor Managers. Money has been taking but not enough has been generated to make Holden sustainable here.

  • Daniel D

    What I don’t understand is why Holden decided to completely destroy any goodwill they received from the launch of the VF and the new advertising campaign, by attacking Australian working conditions. Makes no sense and for me, puts me off the car.

  • Dr Sheldon Cooper

    Australia produced the Camaro, the monaro, HSVs and FPVs…let Ford and GM leave. Australia should recruit all the laid off Ford and GM and Mitsubishi engineers, designers , mechanics, etc… And build a TRULY AUSTRALIAN brand. The talent , experience, and genius are HERE. What is stopping you Australia????
    The Koreans, Indians, Chinese DID NOT HAVE local talents like Austrlia, but still had the guts to start THEIR OWN BRANDS , no matter how crappy (ie, 80s Hyndai, Proton, Geely, etc…). Aus does not have to strt at that LOW a level. Start a TRULY Aussie brand NOW….and save Aussie jobs and export to the world. Export to The US and give Detroit a dose of their own medicine by killing THEIR US made GMs and Fords!!!!

    • $29896495

      I agree totally with this and have suggested it before. It’s a logical step. Only trouble is a lot of people don’t operate with logic.

  • Al Tungupon

    They can keep cutting jobs or lowering pays, but without a new, more viable strategy, Holden will just head the same way as Ford. Car-making is much cheaper elsewhere, and without huge export volumes unlike Toyota, it just won’t make a business case for the Red Lion to continue local operations any longer.

  • george on holidays

    I am currently in Germany….wages over here are lower than Australians….but the cost of living is also a lot lower…cheap fruit and veg…meats….even alcohol…a cheaper cost of living means they are more competitive over the world market….perhaps we need a rethink

  • george on holidays

    just in case you are curios…….meats beef pork etc around 3 to 4 bucks a kilo….not like our 12 to 29 bucks a kilo…bottle of jim beam in their version of woollies….8.50 euro about 12 bucks aussie..and its the same for everything from toiletries to all packaged foods etc

    • Jack on holidays

      Found the same on recent trip to UK, even London. Considerably cheaper to live even after exchange rate. Central London, with its stratospheric real estate pricing nearly on par with suburban Australia for cost of living; other centres and the countryside cheaper. Yes, wages are by and large lower. Watch their motor industry come back from the ashes.

      Surely Australia has to adjust in living costs? Time for recession, RE and AUD to fall…

  • Alexander

    I have a different idea when it comes to saving the Holden commodore & cruze.
    My idea is Avis & Hertz to start adding more Holden Commodores & cruize to there fleet market. Who is in trouble NOT Toyota its Holden workers 325,000 + & 100,000 parts workers.
    To often the fleet car companys say oh we have Holden commodores, cruze available just not at that location. Yeah only SV6 commodore model if your lucky.
    Avis head fleet car family sedan used to be a Red VE Holden Commodore now its a Red Aurion ?. Holdens in trouble & they just keep buying Toyotas.
    The new VF Holden commodore is the most high Tech car Australias ever made in Australia yet Avis & Hertz turn a blind eye.
    Truth shame on you, Avis & Hertz they are secret buying Toyota 68% are Aurions & Camrys then Ford Falcons and last of all Holden commodores & cruze at around 23%.
    Avis & Hertz fleet owners remember this slogan….. Football, meat pies, kangaroos, and Holden cars.
    You have a chance to help Holden don’t blow it …………………..?.
    The only fleet car company in Australia helping Holden is Thrifty which they go out of there way to buy Australian Holden vehicles.

  • lauri

    Tony Abbott what’s your future for Holden ?. You are a snake in the grass I know about your idea to hurt Holden. Just try it Tony after the Election you will be make all the papers around Australia all right.
    Less Commodores to help the Police force that little secrets out.
    I know that scam Tony trying to sell the police force other overseas cars & killing the Elizabeth plant your a tool.

  • Alex

    Avis hertz budget thrifty take a good hard look at what you are doing to the Australian workers car industry family’s . Offer more Holdens instead of so many Toyota. Help your next door neighbour mate ship Aussie Aussie Aussie. Help Holden at least till 2017 . Buy Holdens for your fleet save Australian jobs . You all can make a difference I drive a Holden Commodore and I am proud of it. Shame on u Hertz Merimbula 2 locations no Holdens in your entire fleet I holiday there and it’s hard but I eventually find a holden to drive

  • Alex

    Shame shame shame Abbott government you have killed the Automotive industry thousands of Australian family’s will suffer for years to come. Shame shame shame Hertz Avis Thrifty budget outlets for not adding enough Holdens to your fleet