A supplier of rear-view mirrors, indicators and door handles for local manufacturers Ford, Holden and Toyota, SMR Automotive made the decision to move part of its Australian production to a manufacturing plant in Thailand as a result of the high Australian dollar and the need for long-term viability and flexibility “in a competitive and ever-changing automotive sector”.
SMR Automotive Australia general manager of operations John Scott said in a statement, “This decision has not been taken lightly but rather forms part of our concerted efforts to ensure the long-term viability of our business and our highly valued Australian workforce”.
Between 80 and 90 jobs will go from the company’s 540-odd workforce at its base in Lonsdale, South Australia, with staff expected to exit through “natural attrition, a reduction in contractor services and a staged process of redundancies” while production is moved to Thailand over the next 12-18 months.
“Changes to our workforce are regrettable, but inaction risks our entire Australian based business,” Scott said.
“Our aim is to ensure that the company is strong, sustainable and in a position to offer Australian operations greater opportunities in the long term.”
A spokesperson for SMR Automotive told CarAdvice that as the products going to Thailand are export product lines only, there will be no impact on domestic customers.
“No domestic product is being transferred and no final assembly product is being transferred,” the spokesperson said.
“Mirrors, door handles, automotive interior products and indicators are still being manufactured in Australia.”
The products bound for Thailand production include actuators, mirror lighting components and electronic components, deemed to be no longer competitive to manufacture locally in the current marketplace.