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by Matt Brogan

Despite the Prime  Minister, Kevin Rudd, asking us to buy local, it has been revealed this morning that more than 25 per cent of the Australian Government car fleet is foreign made.

Government rules state clearly that a foreign car can only be purchased if there is a “compelling need” that cannot be met by an Australian manufacturer, but still 2089 cars in the government fleet of approximately 8000 are produced off-shore.
This figure does consist of some 1700 foreign-made Holdens, Fords and Toyotas – carmakers that have manufacturing plants in Australia – but it would seem public servants still prefer to purchase imported vehicles with popular models including Chrysler, Honda, Mazda and Volkswagen.

Opposition Special Minister of State, Michael Ronaldson, said the issue was “a bitter slap in the face for Australian workers and manufacturing”.

“I wonder how the Ford workers in Geelong feel, knowing that fat-cats in Canberra have snubbed them for a foreign-made luxury vehicle,” said Mr Ronaldson.

The Victorian senator said he didn’t see the need to purchase foreign built cars claiming Australian-made cars were both affordable and of high quality.

Interestingly, and perhaps highlighting environmental concerns, the majority of those cars that were foreign made are small-engine vehicles that are not made in Australia.

Senator Ronaldson said regardless of this fact the Government should step in and order bureaucrats to obey official rules.

What do you think? Should the Government fleet contain only locally produced vehicles?

Source: News.com.au

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    Of course they should ,ridiculous they dont.Police do the same, with a small amount of overseas manufactures in their fleets too……….

  • Hummerbug

    Why doesnt this surprise me?

  • WVB

    yep, our money where their hypocritical mouth is.

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    Do as I say not do as I do…….

  • Elitist

    When you think about it, this story is BS.
    Ford workers actually work for an American firm.
    The government is buying cars from say VW, but from Aussie workers/salesman

  • http://caradvise.com.au Schah7

    You comment doesn’t make a lotta sense!?.
    Despite VW’s being of sort after quality and German built.
    Buying a Ford/Holden would be of far more benefit to the Aussie Economy than buying a VW.

  • Hummerbug

    Yeah true Schah7 but they cant afford a Ford/Holden !

  • http://caradvise.com.au Schah7

    Yeah I guess, actually that sounds like the most of us.! LOL!

  • Vlad

    Perhaps it’s an indication that Aussie cars simply aren’t as competitive as we’d like to believe?

    If they want Australian Made, they should all be in the ugly new-look Territory gas guzzler, shouldn’t they?

    And CarAdvice served Holden for its poor interior quality on the HSV Senator recently.

    This smells of faux protectionism; let the market decide what the market wants to drive.

  • anthonii

    What Vlad said!

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    I think they should all set an example and catch the bus. They want everyone to use public transport more.

  • Hummerbug

    Haaaaa true salesman, true that would be funny !

  • Bret

    Most of those vehicles would be 4WD’s and twin cab utes, neither of which are made here.
    And of the remainder 300 or so that are other brands, most would be cars bought under a senior executive salary package – these are still included in “fleet” figures whereas the salary sacrificed novated lease cars, bought by ordinary workers, are not.

    Bit of a political beat up really.

  • Frontman

    The funniest part is the Captain up here in Qld sites fuel economy for her 4 cyl policy, and green issues. However had no problem with the CO2 footprint of the ship used to import her 300C???? Also whilst wanting fuel economy, she is happy to pay the Japanese company for it’s imported and locally produced cars, and pay the Singapore controlled price for fuel refined by and imported from Foreign owned companies. But she WILL NOT entertain the thought of the far more cost effective and AUSTRALIAN LPG compatable vehicles to be used in her fleet????? Good ol’ labour party, “for the good of the working man” (as long as he’s not average australina midle class caucasion male!! (god help him if he is semi skilled wanting to improve himself!)

  • nick

    hypocritical? yes

    However, other than that, i see no problem with the government purchasing foreign vehicles on the basis of better fuel economy, price or function.

    In Sydney, for most occasions a Mitsubishi Lancer makes alot more sence as a squad car than a large Falcon or Commodore. They have paddi-wagons and vans for dealing with/transporting criminals. For errands and other journeys I don’t see the need for police driving such large vehicles. As a consumer, I’d happily buy a G6E Falcon, as a tax payer – i’d rather see something that’s going to cost less to fill on the streets.

    On a side note, a family friend is a Sydney judge and recently purchased a Toyota Tarago as her company vehicle despite bieng encouraged by government officials to buy a EUROPEAN CAR! as a Tarago was undignified.

  • Bret

    Nick, whilst I don’t dissagree with you sentiments, don’t confuse the State VS Federal fleets.

  • Ryan

    Maybe for or holden made some more decent small cars they’d fill that 25% gap with them. (and before anyone mentions the barina, it’s made by daewoo remember…)

  • absi

    also, can anyone tell me what percentage of a commodore and falcon parts are made overseas?

  • Ravith

    These days, it’s hard to buy ‘national’ product. You don’t know where the profit is going to.

    Only when you go to buy tomatoes or oranges, you may be able to say I am buying national prodict – but with cars, computers, TV/s etc things are made so bloody everywhere that it’s besides the point. Just buy things that are better.

  • Supply & Demand

    I’m sure when Australian auto firms start making useful and relevant cars that people actually want to drive the government will ammend its fleet policy. The hybrid camry is a good start.

  • Bret

    Supply & Demand,
    I’m sure whats usefull and relevant to you probably isn’t to me.
    Thats a very subjective thing you are using to support you own particular bias.

    And the hybrid Camry is already looking to be irrelevant before it’s even built.

  • Hummerbug

    “And the hybrid Camry is already looking to be irrelevant before it’s even built”. Haaaa couldnt agree more! Hybrid Camry Pffftt….

  • Supply & Demand

    Trend 1, downsizing, people getting out of big cars and into little ones.
    Trend 2, environmental impact.
    Trend 3, fuel efficiency.

    Commodores burn more fuel than the new 7 series BMW and some PDK Porsches, pump out the same amount of C02 as some SUV’s and are getting larger everytime a new model is released. How do these cars fit in to current consumer demand and trends? How can the government claim to be green and pro Kyoto if they continue buying these cars?

  • Frontman

    S&D what you don’t realise is that the TOTAL production of Hybrid Camry has been sodl to Govco! That is hardly a relevant car.

  • Sam

    Absi, apparently around 35% of the components of a new Commodore are made in China. That might not even be close to the truth in reality, but that’s what someone told me recently when I asked the same question.

  • Frontman

    S&D Commodore & Falcon have gotten bigger because the medium size cars are now bigger. A 6, Mondeo and Accord are all larger than a VZ. A Focus sedan is bigger than Telsars and Camry and that used to be. Ofh and they all put out more Co’2 than they should for their respective catagories but you don’t shun them???

  • Maneesh

    What is Australian made? More like Victorian and Adelaide made…There’s no car factories in WA, NT, QLD, NSW, ACT or Tasmania.

    Buying a Victorian made car, doesnt help the other states at all!!!!

  • Frontman

    Maneesh, G.James Extrusions is in Eagle farm Qld and they make a lot of trims for all manufacturers. I belive Pilkingtons main factory is also not in Vic or SA.

  • nick

    Supply and Demand

    I agree with you in regards to the fuel efficiency of the current generation Commodore in comparison to vehicles such as the BMW 7 series, it is important to not that the VE Commodore was released in 2006, whilst the current 7 series was released this year and alot has changed in those 3 years.

    I don’t think Holden would have ever predicted the auto industries current prediciment, although others may have.

    Reports are that the next generation Commodore will be substantialy downsized, featuring a possible turbo 4 although hybrid and oiler powertrains have been ruled out due to cost. That’s not till 2013 thought, so it’ll be an interesting few years.

    Just bring on the Tesla S!

  • MPS Carl

    You know what the NZ government did a year or two ago? They replaced all their big Australian limos with a fleet of BMW 730Ld. That’s the 3 Litre long wheelbase diesel. The rest of us cannot purchase that model, but anyway it’s a great choice. And diesel’s only 98c/Litre here too.

  • Bret

    When everything’s imported, and you controll the taxes as well, anything is possible.

  • troppa

    Kevin Rudd should be driving a cheri,so he can support the country that supports him.

  • Bret


  • ben

    What a bunch of hipacritical tossers. Id really put down on what id like to say but ill get in trouble again lol. But im thinkin pretty much what all of u r, what a joke.
    P.S my spam word was ford to lol

  • Andrew M

    Great call Troppa……

    I think 25% foreign is a reasonable percent considering australia only makes large cars.

    Once Focus and Cruze come online next year, then I will see no excuse for it.

    I can understand they want to uses physiclly smaller cars for some duties, but to argue its for saving fuel $$$ is a joke.

    All those saying where the money really goes…….
    yes true, its hard to tell exactlly where the profit goes, but when they sell to fleets like the Gov, there aint much profit left to be had if any once you factor in development costs etc.
    even if they did make a tonne of profit on selling a car to the Gov, you surely cant argue against an aussie made vehicle putting more back into our economy than a foreign one…..

  • Bret

    Various arguments on both sides above – care to explain what you mean?
    Or is this just another case of nothing intelligent to contribute??

  • Supply & Demand

    Don’t get me wrong I apreciate the new commodore. I drove a rented VE Omega and couldn’t have been more impressed with the steering feedback and almost diesel like linear accelation, its honestly every bit as good as a drivers car as some of the rear drive euro stuff but i would never buy one. I don’t want my grandkids to hate me for killing all the polar bears. Having owned a commodore I get sick of passengers telling me they feel like their riding in a taxi and I get sick of people telling me “you surely don’t need something so big”. Resale is about 20% after 4 years and the fuel bill is astronomical when compared to a diesel or small 4. The government might share my view.

  • Frenchie

    If you had $50,000 to spend on a new car, what would you buy and what is your reason?

  • Motorhead

    State & Local Governments are much the same unfortunately I’ve seen lots of police Lancers lately.

    I think government fleets at all levels should buy locally made apart from the where they aren’t available for the purpose eg vans, serious off roaders, dual cabs etc.

  • Bret

    except that most of the imported vehicles the the Fed Govt buy use MORE fuel than a Falcon or CamAurion and even a Commodore.
    You’re not understanding what it is that they are buying, that is not locally made: it’s 4WD’s and Jap style utes.

    Very few “small and green” are in those 2089 vehicles.

  • Supply & Demand

    Bring on the Tesla S!!! Also, (I can’t resist the rant when it comes to Australian cars – the disappointment is too much to keep in) if the Camry hybrid doesn’t sell i think it’ll be more to do with disinterest in the Camry product than the drivetrain. I think new car buyers are more sophisticated than market researchers think. Camry + electricity doesn’t necessarily equal profit, but the option for a fuel efficient Australian car is definately a step in the right direction. Sales reps forced out of their Commodores and into Astra’s by their eco minded fleet managers will soon be given the option of a larger family car – an Australian one!!

  • http://navelcontemplation.blogspot.com/ SuperCujo

    25%? Big deal. That is still 3 out of every 4 cars being Australian made. I’d say that is pretty good protectionism.

    Wouldn’t making a Camry purely electric make it the perfect refrigerator?

  • Bret

    SC ^ nah wouldn’t work. Camrys are not “cool” enough.

  • Jaspar

    I think you need to distinguish between Australian PRODUCED and Australian MADE.

    The fact is over half of the parts in Holdens and Fords get made overseas.

    They only get assembled here. So are they Australian?

    Let’s also remember that both these so called Aussie companies have overseas parents who call the shots.
    They ceased to be Australian in my eyes years ago.

  • Bret

    Jaspar, don’t kid youself, Australia has never had an Australian auto manufacturer.
    It’s just that some of the cars built here were designed/developed here and hence are considered Australian, whereas others, like Camry/Aurion for example, are just overseas designs built here (with lots of imported parts), so are never consideresd Australian.
    Don’t forget that Holden was GM Holden and US owned well before any complete car was ever built here.

  • Aleks

    Its simple why they don’t buy Australian cars. Its because they crap, end of story. I love them, but there is always tons of reports about them falling apart. When is the last time you saw a commodore or a falcon top a quality survey or at least make the top 5 lol

    End of discussion.

  • Bret

    Aleks, but they DO buy them. How did you miss the fact that 75% are locally made cars.
    And No I dissagree, they’re not all crap either.

  • the fact

    if it weren’t for fleet sales of the commodores to largely mis-guided government agencies who absurdly insist on a buy Australian policy favouring the local versions of badly performing multi-national corporations, Holden and Ford would be long gone in Australia at least.but now australia’s fleet have changed in a big way.most fleets now let you get BMW,LEXUS,,,etc..instead of only two choices fleet image commodores or falcons.

  • Bret

    Govt fleet sales are that small in the overall scheme of the market that’s a pointles and erroneous claim D1NGO.

  • Cupid Stunt

    If the locally produced cars don’t fit the bill then theres no choice, seems rediculous the Aussie Govm’t sponsor gas guzzlers and not eco boxes.
    If there was a locally built decent big diesel then I’m sure it would get picked. Take my recently received 2.7 TDi A6. long runs its doing 5.9’s/100 far cheaper for the elctorate to run. OK the A6 is pricey but theres no local car available.
    No choice for authorities really.

  • Cupid Stunt

    Besides why should the Government subsidise car co’s locallity, let them sort it garage out. The market will dictate the cars sold, I don’t suppose there’s room for Falcons or Commodors in reality due to limited numbers sold and with such little exporting to make developemnt worthwhile. Global cars for Global markets its the way things are going.

  • Wheelnut

    I agree with you Cupid – that Global cars are the way most car companies are heading.. that is designing cars that have more “international appeal” etc.

    Unfortunately however; GM are still designing/building cars that are about as aerodynamic as a brick with as much appeal as syphilis.
    The only exception is the Camaro [which was designed by Holden]

    If they were serious about their survival they would: sell off car these car companies like Cadillac/Buick as well as get rid of their designers [along with their rulers]

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    Yeah well after Rudds just announced “the largest infrastructure decision in Australia’s history”, faster broadband………..they all may be catching the bus . Really got your priories right there Rudd,start of a recession and you start planning a legacy for yourself…….

  • jeremey


  • Devil’s Advocate

    Bret says: “It’s just that some of the cars built here were designed/developed here and hence are considered Australian, whereas others, like Camry/Aurion for example, are just overseas designs built here (with lots of imported parts), so are never consideresd Australian.”

    The funny thing is Bret I remember reading about it in the mags/paper etc that when the VE Commodore was first released, it had the least amount of Australian made content of all the Aus assembled cars. Even the Toyotas had more Aus made content. Whilst the Toyotas were not designed here like the Commodore/Falcon, they still had a fair amount of development work done in country. For quite a while Australia was one of the main developing grounds for Toyota world wide, even for models not available here. In someway that is no different to Ford Doing Falcon development work in Scandanavia etc.

  • Glen

    Australian made cars are too big and too thirsty. The government needs to set an example and buy smaller more economical cars, and it’s about time the local car makers started producing them. Private car buyers are purchasing small cars like Corolla and Mazda 3.