Up to 100 workers at Toyota Australia’s Altona manufacturing plant will be made redundant next month as the local car maker reacts to a drop in export orders.
Toyota Australia says reduced demand from export markets has made it “unsustainable to keep the manufacturing workforce at its current size”.
The voluntary redundancies – which take effect from November 29 – will be accompanied by an eight per cent reduction in the number of cars produced at the Victorian plant every day, down from 470 to 431.
Toyota says the precise number of redundancies will be determined by the number of applications received and the skill set of those employees, and insists there will be no compulsory redundancies.
Toyota Australia president and CEO Max Yasuda said the decision to cut its circa-2500-strong workforce was difficult but vital for the company’s efforts to move towards global competitiveness.
“Our employees are our greatest asset, so it is with extreme sadness that we have to adjust our workforce,” Yasuda said.
“As a manufacturer we are subject to fluctuating orders from our domestic and export markets, so we need to have the flexibility to respond to changes in conditions.
“We will now be working closely with all of our employees to ensure they understand why we have made this decision and support them during this difficult period.”
Yasuda said the voluntary redundancies were an important part of the car maker’s attempts to improve its long-term manufacturing viability in Australia.
“In the lead up to 2018 we need to reduce the cost of each of our locally built vehicles by $3800,” he said.
“Although we have made progress, we are now seeing gaps in our plans that must be closed to secure investment for the next-generation vehicle and to maintain our export program.
“This decision-making process has started, so we must show our parent company that we are not only achieving our targets, but that we have the relevant plans in place to achieve them right up until 2018.”
In August, Toyota Australia announced a $123 million investment into its Victorian manufacturing operations designed to support the production of the updated 2015 Camry and shore up its presence on the local automotive scene until at least 2018.
The announcement comes less than two years after Toyota Australia axed 350 Altona plant employees in January 2012, at the time blaming changing market conditions and the high Australian dollar.