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Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott says Australia’s remaining car makers will need to increase their export volumes if they plan to secure further funding from his new government.

Addressing journalists at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Abbott insisted the Coalition Government would “stick with the position” it took to the election, which is set to include cutting $500 million in industry assistance to 2015 compared with the promises of the ousted Labor Government.

“There will continue to be a high level of assistance to the motor industry but we expect the motor industry in return for that high level of assistance to provide us with a reasonable indication of how it is going to increase volumes, particularly increase export volumes,” Abbott said.

Toyota is Australia’s largest automotive exporter. The Altona-based car maker’s most recent annual report revealed it exported 70 per cent of the 99,441 Aurion, Camry and Camry Hybrid vehicles it produced in the 2012-2013 financial year ending March 31.

The Honourable Tony Abbott MP, Leader of the Opposition,Budget Reply Speech Parliament House Canberra.

Abbott said the government wanted Australia’s car automotive industry to have a “long-term viable future”, but said it would not “live from hand to mouth” under his leadership as it has in the past.

“I accept that government has a role in bringing this about but I also think the industry has a role of bringing this about and I am looking forward to further discussion.”

Both Holden and Toyota are preparing their pitches for future multi-million dollar co-investment deals with the government. Holden, which in July was reportedly seeking an extra $265 million to shore up the future of its local operations, will meet with the government before the end of the year to finalise its plans.

Abbott yesterday appointed Ian MacFarlane to the role of Industry Minister, a post the Queensland-based politician held previously in John Howard’s government.


  • Dave W

    Sounds reasonable. Can’t just expect handouts from govt without showing what they’ll do to grow.

    • Zaccy16

      i agree Dave, much better than throwing money at the industry without any promises!

  • Pauly

    Maybe we can start to produce the Volt for RHD Markets in Australia?

    It will take the load of Detroit to make both LHD and RHD cars, and we already make the Cruze in Australia, which the Volt is based off.

    It may also encourage Aussie businesses to open that specialise in battery production and make even more jobs?

    Then maybe we can get the Hybrid Camry’s Battery and Electric systems made in Australia too with that expertise we have built from making the Volt here?

    • $29896495

      Actually, there is no relationship between the Volt and Cruze other than being GM

      • Devil’s Advocate

        Actually there is a relationship huwtm. Both the Volt and Cruze use the Delta 2 platform, a quick Google search over multiple sources proves this. This helps GM to keep costs down. There are rumors however that the Gen2 Volt will have its own platform.

        • $29896495

          If you’ve seen the special on the making of the Volt, you would see that platforms are very different, by virtue of battery housing etc. But sure, they probably started out the same. But that’s about where it ends.

          • Shak

            In a matter of minutes you went from saying there is ‘NO’ relationship between Cruze and Volt, to ‘they probably started out the same’. Do you ever do any research before you start furiously pounding away at your keyboard. Oh wait, its a GM Holden story and to you thats like a fire to a moth.

          • $29896495

            You attack over that? Tray is totally different. I see nothing wrong in what I wrote, more in your case, because you are looking to find something to pointlessly criticize. As nickdl wrote below “same steering wheel”. But steering wheel, does not make the same platform architecture. In other words nothing interchangeable.

          • Shak

            Attack? Mate this is a car website, not some forums for 12 year olds. Not everyone on here is as petty as you. Both the Cruze and Volt share the same fundamental architecture.

          • $29896495

            You need to explain that in more detail. I take it you aren’t just saying the same because they have four wheels. As I wrote, nothing is interchangeable, so please explain.

          • $29896495

            Explain that – they use different floor pans different body structure. So rather than be obtuse and argumentative in a passive aggressive girly way. Explain what parts of the Cruze will fit on the Volt. Happy to be the benefit of your knowledge.

      • nickdl

        They have the same steering wheel.

        • drivingsofas

          Most companies just tack on the steering wheels without moving the cruise control, indicator and other levers across for RHD markets. Not exactly the same but workable. Engineering is still done in one market and just adapted for the other.

  • Mr. X

    What I cant understand is why everyone is forgetting that when the government gives money to the automakers its not free. For example in the last round of money that Holden got, they had to contribute $1 billion of their own befor getting the $175 million from the government. so how much more do they need to do.

    • $29896495

      make a car that people want to buy

      • scotty

        Maybe the Gov needs to put higher tarrifs on imports if they dont produce a vehicle here?
        Discount levels on tarrifs per vehicle manufactured in aust.
        If they build 1 vehicle here. they receive a discount on import tarrifs.
        build two models receive a larger discount on tarrifs.
        Maybe that will then create an incentive for companies to build more vehicles here in aust. creating more jobs. less people on the doll and welfare payments. more taxes in the govs pocket.

        • $29896495

          That’s how the reduction in tariffs came about. If you look at the current arrangement, Holden and ford get credits which allow them zero tariffs. Which is why they wanted the plan. The idea has been to reduce production and replace with importation. But the bottom line is if they built cars that people wanted they wouldn’t have an issue selling them.

          • matt

            on and on and on about ” cars people want to buy” you just dont get it hey, NO manufacturer sells 5000+ models a month of the one vehicle anymore, there is to much choice. Commodore and cruze and camry are in the top 10… indicating,,, wait for it… they are cars the general public Want to buy.(shak, grade 12 is being to kind for this one)

        • gibbut

          like the tariffs howard removed

        • supercujo

          Now they Australia is part of a multitude of Free Trade Agreements, I believe part of those agreements is not not impose tariffs on imports.

          A possible way around this would be to reduce the FBT on Australian made vehicles for salary packaged vehicles.

          • scotty

            Good Point. Just something needs to be done to encourage aussie built vehicles sales.

      • Jim

        This comment always comes up in these discussion but judging by last month’s sales figures Holden’s Australian made cars came in 4th and 6th place. Camry was 7th I think. They obviously are making cars people want to buy.

        • $29896495

          Maybe you’re a glass half full kind of guy. But blinders are what got them in trouble in the first place. Take a look at the first two cars. What does that tell you?

          • Shak

            That people buy small cars, which is exactly what Holden produces.

          • $29896495

            Which Holden are you referring to? The korean one known as Daewoo. Can’t be the one that makes the Commodore.

      • Igomi Watabi

        You mean, like Commodore and Cruze, two of Australia’s better selling cars?

      • guest

        They made the car I want to buy, so I purchased it. And I’m very happy with my powerful, spacious, fun to drive rear-wheel-drive sedan.

        I don’t want to by a mini-SUV, my life isn’t over yet. I’m not going to drive that boring box on wheels because everyone else does. I buy a car for me, not to impress the neighbours with the latest beige-box on wheels.

        • $29896495

          Speaking of Cruze, more pictures of the new one have surfaced. Bigger again, lots of overhang making the wheels look positively tiny. Body looks better though. – When is a small car not a small car? When it’s a Cruze.

          By the way, guest, you are becoming a minority.

      • itsme

        I think they make cars people want its just there to exspensive or have less features. That’s the problem with our wages being so high. I cant see how there going to export too much when the same cars are built for a third of cost from other countries

        • $29896495

          Is it a problem of the wages or the size and cost of the cars?

  • Igomi Watabi

    This is typical of the naivete of this bloke that we seem to have voted in accidentally whilst in the process of unnecessarily punishing the previous government. “Come on Australian car makers, increase your exports.”
    Any ideas how, Tony.

    • Devil’s Advocate

      Accidentally? Like the result or not the swing against Labor says otherwise. The last election in 2010 was more accidental than this one. I hope he changes his mind though as much as I doubt it.

      • $29896495

        He was being sarcastic. The way it’s looking, it’ll probably take Abbott a year to unravel the country. Two years for the idiots who voted for the Libs to realize they screwed themselves. But then being the sheep they are, Abbott will tell them they had it worse under Labor and they’ll believe him. Give him a second term, then we’ll be in full blown recession and they’ll put Labor back in and blame them for it.

        • mark

          You may want to think back a few years if you want to start critisising governments. Why should a government throw millions at a car industry and not expect something in return . labor did it last time. The answert is as said. Buy Australian not imported and the industry will survive, no question. Australian cars are way better now than ever.

          • $29896495

            Patience you’ll see I’m right. Why buy what you don’t want? Of course they should get something in return. Labor expected that too. JOBS for thousands of people. Which many of you have forgotten already. The thing is though, Holden can’t keep building unsuitable rubbish and expect people to buy it. WHEN THEY DON’T WANT TO! They’ve had since before the turn on the century, to start acting on the pattern and haven’t.

            So they are the two issues, jobs and product.

        • neville

          Hey go back to that Infiniti story, the fly by wire one and keep arguing even though you are completely wrong but kept digging

          • $29896495

            Stalker, what are you doing back?

          • Neville

            Flapping my mouth about stuff I have no idea about, I just google it and get 5% of the story and just go on and on. Get a lot of stuff wrong, you’d reckon I’d give up when proven wrong but…..

          • matt

            dont worry nev its school holidays soon, he should be gone for a while we hope.

        • Hung Low

          Are you still ranting on with the Labor scare mungering? The Australian public just ousted an incompetent government with an egotistical, control freak of a PM whose team does not even want him as a member in current state, imagine the result if this circus was in for another term. The real sheep are the non swinging voters. Abbot deserves a chance, if the party or himself doesn’t stand up, the next election should sort him out. Premonitions of his performance based on nothing but krudd election propaganda exposes the real idiots IMO.
          I commend his proposal here, he wants to ensure our tax money will be utilised wisely and adds value instead.

          • $29896495

            Wait and see.

          • Zaccy16

            well said! I think Julia Gillard would have had a better campaign than Kruddy, i love that essay she wrote for the guardian, still stood up for her self and enforced how badly Kruddy campaigned!

          • barry

            Not sure about that Zaccy.It might depend on where you live but Juliar failed border protection policy would of lead Labour to political annihilation.A lot worse than the hiding they got.

          • Zaccy16

            im not supporting juliar but i think its good she stood up for her self against shift Krudd!

          • $29896495

            Great way to rewrite history zaccy now that you are in love with julia.

          • Yetiman

            We have a new Captain now, can’t wait to blame Tony Phoney for everything.

          • Igomi Watabi

            Except it wasn’t an incompetent Government. History will show that, and the experts are already saying it. It was just a Government that, being riven with internal strife, didn’t know how to sell its achievements. And with the most politically ignorant and insular population in the western world (Americans are far more politically aware than Australians), it was impossible to hear the message from overseas commentators who were saying that we had a country, an economy
            and a system thst is the envy of the world.

          • Sumpguard

            Mungering?

            The real idiots are those that ignored his past . The previous government suggested they grow exports also and the one before that ;)

            The Australian public just got hoodwinked by the MSM.

        • ggo

          labor always leave our country in the red hopeless!

          • $29896495

            Yeah the libs just sell everything off to pay the bills. trouble is there’s barely anything left to sell. So this time will be different.

          • Neville

            Wow, caradvice has its own Laurie Oaks. The political insight is amazing

          • Igomi Watabi

            Would you know?

          • Neville Sponge

            Well look at the generic political rants, nothing of meaning just what all uninfomed goons pick up over time. Well I say taxes are too high, yeah yeah

          • Fairlane

            Anyone ever heard of a two party paradigm
            one gets us in debt,they get voted out,via the media
            The other sells assests and increases taxs to get us out of debt,then they get voted out,via the media.
            and the cycle starts again.

          • matt

            ALL HAIL MURDOCH!!!!

      • Igomi Watabi

        I say “accidentally” because the pundits agree that it was not really a vote for Abbott, but a vote against Labor. Now, we can have a debate about the Labor party’s rank inability to actually sell the remarkable achievements of their terms in office, but I doiubt you’ll listen.

        • zahmad

          Well said!

          • $29896495

            Zaccy, so you agree that labor achieved a lot while in power. That infighting and not putting the message out there was the main issue.

          • zahmad

            just realised comment was to zaccy, but you replied to my comment?

    • wtf!

      I wouldn’t have thought it was up to the government to run an automobile business. Both Holden and Toyota have plenty of smart people warming seats in the office that should be doing there bit to figure out how to export more cars. I understand that Holden is run by GM and there is a lot of internal politics that prevent this from happening. Not much our government is going to do to stop this. Ford had plenty of opportunity as well but once again head office got in the way.

      • Igomi Watabi

        That’s my point. A Government can’t just turn around and say “export more cars”, there are other forces at play, over which the Government has no control. And it is naive to just say to Holdent and Toyota “sell more stuff”.

        • Shak

          Guess that shows the quality of leader Australians have elected. Naive and dim witted.

  • rfsadf

    Why don’t more Australians just buy more local cars? This would greatly help.

    Also Australia should increase tariffs in imports. This way more people will buy local cars

    • wht

      The local cars are too big/not practical enough & too thristy for the level of practicality you get. They’re also not very well made & have poor resale values.

      • the boss

        respect your view but v6 cars don’t use as much fuel as they did in the past. allot of people are happy to pay the little bit extra for comfort of leg room and power of towing. v6 large cars are very practical for family’s.

        Large cars will always be a popular market and eventually all cars will be electric like it or not.

        not made well? we make more sound cars than most countries. as long as you service your car you shouldnt get many issues anyway.

        • sfgh

          The engine does not define how practical the car is or how much leg room is inside. There is a V6 in the Lotus Exige, does that make it practical?

          Few people are interested in towing, even those who have V6s. This is pretty obvious since so few cars are fitted with tow bars and those that are rarely tow anyway – and when they do, they usually only tow a light box trailer which any car could tow.
          Most people who want to tow larger loads like Caravans and boats are using Diesels which are far more suitable than a V6 petrol.

          The types of large cars made locally are not popular anymore. Other markets dropped the cheap, large engined sedan long ago. There will not be increases in exports as no country wants cheap large engined sedans.

          Regular servicing won’t stop design and manufacturing faults. This should be pretty obvious considering Commodores are having oil consumption problems straight from the factory. Extra servicing won’t stop the coil packs from going as is also common in recent commodores – nor the issue of head gaskets going from failed thermostats.
          Commodores also come straight from the factory with a 190KW V6 engine that performs like a 118KW 4 cylinder Passat, yet drinks fuel in the real world like a 380KW V10 BMW M5.

          • guest

            What oil consumption problems? It is news to me. Mine has no such problems. No coil packs gone, nor head gasket problems. It has been 100% reliable. And this 210kW V6 car is economical too.

            I would absolutely buy another one. Ownership experience and dealer experience has been very good.

      • guest

        Mine is very well built, quite practical and doesn’t use much fuel either. Fun to drive as well. Unlike these floating FWD barges like Camry.

        • OTLAWZ

          the Camry is much better ‘built’ the panel gaps are very tightand all the body panes are very solid. As opposed to the ‘glued’ panels of the Kommi.

          Also the interior of the Camry is Solid, little dull but solid and extremely practical & functional. And also much more spacious, quiet and more comfortable overall than the Kommi.

          And the 3.5L 2GR-FE motor of the Aurion runs circles around the Kommis gruff 3.6L SIDI ENGINE. Let’s not even mentioned refinement here

  • DAVID.ZYK

    Too little too late, and our cars are WAY too expensive and low quality to what you can buy o/s FOR LESS

  • horise

    Instead of giving money to the car makers. Why not give tax and stamp duty exemptions to companys and people who buy Aussie made cars! They could do cheaper rego as well.
    I just can’t understand why the government doesn’t do that.

    • Jacob

      Because it would be against the Free Trade rules.

      If you dont believe in free markets, dont sign free trade agreements!

      • Shak

        Tell that to our ‘trade partners’ who dont seem to realise that they also signed these agreements alongside us. Australian governments, either Liberal or Labour have fallen into this mentality that we always have to be the good guys and play by the rules. I say, that when it comes to our local future, play dirty if you have to.

        • Jacob

          Its funny how nobody comes up with examples of a violation of free trade agreements. Just allegations.

          • Shak

            Thailand implementing rules which negatively affect our territory exports. Our Territory has to pay some extra tax because of its engine capacity. Thats clearly a violation of FREE trade.

          • Jacob

            Not it is not. Bigger engines have to pay bigger tax regardless of where they are made.

            Given how polluted Thailand is. That is fair enough.

            In NSW heavier cars have to pay higher rego fees, regardless of where the car was made.

          • Shak

            I wasnt trying to say Thailand is targeting the Territory, or that the tax was designed specifically for the Territory. I was saying it shouldn’t apply at all to the Territory. We dont levy the 5% tarrif on Thai imports because we hold up our end of the deal, and Thailand should do the same.

          • Jacob

            Thailand dont violate the FTA. They do put an extra tax on big engines and that is their choice.

            A bit like how AUS has a Luxury Car Tax, and that is not a violation of the FTA we have with USA.

    • mhg

      A couple of hundred in savings will not be enough to get many people back to Aussie made cars.

  • Dennis

    Abbott needs to amend the Free Trade Agreement with Thailand ASAP

  • Pauly

    To help the Aussie Car Manufacturing sector we need to do the following:

    - Government to review export programs (Fair enough, if Toyota can export the number of Camrys and Aurions they do, then so can Holden).

    - Government to review import tariff of 5% and look to increase this. This will make cars made overseas more expensive and cars made locally cheaper, thus encouraging Aussies to buy locally.

    - Government to put investment into helping the automotive sector being more green and fuel efficient. Pump money into battery tech in the country so that we can start making the electrical systems for Hybrid and Electric cars locally. It will make us look more favorable to make RHD variants of cars like the Volt and Hybrid Camry. Yes at the moment they are low volume sellers, but going forward having this experience early on will pay for itself over the coming 10 years while we all switch from fossil fuel to electric cars.

    So I do agree with that the Liberals are requesting. I just wish they would go that step further and look to review other things which are effecting local production.

    I for one would have bought the 2013 Holden Cruze SRI/SRI-V if I knew the major update was coming out with the 1.6L Turbo and upgraded steering, transmission and suspension….. Instead I went and bought a Veloster Turbo…. But if I had known I can safely say I would have waited.

    • $29896495

      Well doesn’t look like you’ll get a green initiative from the libs. Which labor had in place. If we’re going to play with Tariffs, why not go back to the 60s. Lock everything out and force assembly of cars in this country. Add another 25,000 to the bottom end cars, and another 100K (or more) to the top. From what I understand, SA are doing that. Your Veloster would cost about 60-70,000 parts will go up as well. Are you willing to have your service costs triple?

    • Jacob

      You didnt mention anything about the Free Trade Agreement we have with USA and Thailand.

      AUS is trying to sign free trade agreements with South Korea and other places.

  • Phil

    Get the AUD back down to 70c US, and we won’t have any trouble exporting. It’s the exchange rate that is killing our export potential.

    • Homer

      dollar at 70C is not the way to go. cutting the production cost (labour cost especially) is the right solution. Autoworkers earn too much (no need to use the brain just hand and can potentailly be – and should be one day – replaced with robots.

    • George Gallan

      I think you will find that its actually the US parent HQ that is not allowing local guys to export and compete with the “Made in USA” products. In relation to weak AUD, I would actually argue that the real problem is weak USD – the US Federal reserve pushed their dollar so low via a so called quantitative easing, AKA printing money, to increase US companies competitiveness – its hard fighting against such a move.

      • Phil

        I don’t see how that’s the case, seeing the Commodore is being exported to the US as a top line Chev sedan. GM don’t produce an equivalent to our products anyway, so it isn’t like it is competition. We actually provide them with a product they don’t make to compete in a market segment with the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. Our high dollar means it has to compete as a niche vehicle rather than mainstream. Same went for HF engine exports, once our dollar rose it became more economical to source them in North America. That put an end to exports for Cadillac.

        Currency market manipulation is hard to fight against – but remember just how fast these markets can move. When Holden was exporting the Monaro, the AUD went from 60 to 90 in about 9 months. What was very viable became unviable in a short space of time. Australia’s currency is tied closely to commodity prices, which means it moves opposite to general market trends. Our dollar rose when the markets looked for safe havens, once the US and European economies kick up a gear the money will return there and our dollar will drop, just as it drops on lower resources demand. 70c is being optimistic, but with the US expected to wind back easing measures, as will Europe, thre is hope.

  • gibbut

    maybe with holden, not with ford. Their “One ford” plan has no room for aussie made cars.

  • Bill

    Great idea Tony. Increase exports. Sounds easy. I bet Holden and Toyota never thought of that.
    Never mind the fact that both Toyota and Holden are part of global companies where the decision about which plants around the world build which vehicles for which markets are made in head office and NOT here in Australia.

  • lauri

    Dear Mr Abbott Holden has been around for 165 years you are going to kill it in 2 months . Those workers you sack are Australians what if it was your daughter working at Holden Hey ??.

    • jwtyj

      You sound as if Holden is Australian Government owned. It is not, it belongs to the Americans and it’ll likely be around for a long time allbeit, exclusively selling Korean made cars from the old Daewoo factorys.

  • Clinker

    Abbot is an Idiot. Australia cannot and never will be able too export more cars. He is now pushing FTAs with other countries which will make imported cars 5% cheaper than current pricing. But on the other side of the world the FTAs don’t work the same. China offers tax breaks to those who buy locally produced cars, hence imported cars are only 2% of sales. Other countries add taxes post FTA. Start doing some research on tariffs, look at how many vehicles we import into Australia against what we produce. Holden goes and so will Toyota. Both political parties are disgraceful, we have Defence dept buying 4×4 vehicles from Germany, Ford could produce the Chassis, Holden the bodies and Toyota the electrics. But buy any of the shelf engine and transmission assembly from the multitude of manufactures, Cummins, Detroit etc. They could also produce heavy vehicles as well, but we now have a cannot do attitude in Australia, plus all the political parties raping the tax payer blind too fund their overseas education and business trip. For example the politician who spent two weeks overseas at a cost of nearly $100,000 and came back with a brilliant plan to give old people plates for their car so we know they are old, really.

  • zahmad

    No worries mate!

  • Zaccy16

    yes it is and we will never have to worry about that name again!