The future of Australia’s auto industry is looking bleaker by the day. Even more drastic than Ford’s move to end production in the country, GM may kill off its Holden division entirely.
Once the go-to brand for the average Australian buyer, Holden has seen its profits and its share drop steadily over the past decade in the face of stiff competition from cheap imports. According to an , the company was prepared to announce its exit from the Aussie market this week but decided to do so at a less jollier time — early next year.
With Holden being a national treasure, the situation has turned into a major political issue. The ruling conservative coalition contends that the company has received almost $3 billion of government aid in the last 12 years and that giving it more would likely be wasteful. The opposition, on the other hand, has accused the governing party of accelerating Holden’s demise through a lack of investment and by signing a free-trade agreement with South Korea that helps Hyundai and Kia increase their share of the local market.
Australians buy around 1.1 million new vehicles annually, but sales of vehicles built locally have dropped to less than a quarter of that. The industry itself employs more than 50,000 people and supports some 200,000 other manufacturing jobs. Analyst warn that an exit by Holden will likely affect the economies of scale at Toyota and elsewhere, threatening the survival of an industry built around a delicate network of suppliers.
Australian Auto Manufacturing Industry is Officially Dead
October 20, 2017, marks the death of the Australian automobile manufacturing industry and the date General Motors built its last car in the Land Down Under.
The end of the line for the Australian auto industry was long foreseen, but its actuality will nevertheless be felt by the thousands who saw it as a big part of Australian culture.
GM was the last manufacturer to holdout, with Toyota ceasing operations two weeks earlier and Ford building its last vehicle in 2016.
Australia’s long and storied manufacturing history started way back in 1925 when Ford began building cars in the country. GM’s Holden division followed suit with assembly of its own cars in 1948, while the country served as the location for Toyota’s first manufacturing plant outside of Japan in 1963.
Output started to decline in the mid-1970s after reaching almost 500,000 cars in 1974. Sales from Ford, Toyota and GM plummeted to around 87,000 units apiece in 2016 compared to the 150,000 vehicles they built annually at their height.
The death of Australia’s automobile manufacturing industry can be largely attributed to the country’s , which flooded the market with foreign cars that were either cheaper to buy and / or better equipped than locally-made vehicles.
The country’s notably higher labor costs compared to neighboring developing countries like Thailand also didn’t help matters, effectively trapping its auto auto-manufacturing industry a pincer movement with regards to competitiveness.
All major mainstream cars sold in Austrian will be imported moving forward. What are your thoughts?
Nissan Titan Comes to Australia
Truck-hungry Australia will be getting some heavy-duty love from Nissan. Performax International is converting the Titan XD to right-hand drive for the Land Down Under.
The Titan XD won’t be the only full-size pickup rubbing shoulders with the kangaroos. In addition to selling alongside the smaller Nissan Navara, it will have to contend with other big US pick-up trucks like the Ford F250, Chevrolet Silverado, and Toyota Tundra (yes, the Tundra is all-American), and you can bet it comes well-equipped to the battle.
Measuring a commanding 5.8 metres long and more than 2 metres wide, the is powered by a 5.0-litre Cummins turbo diesel V8 engine that produces 310 horsepower (235kW) and 555 lb-ft. (752 Nm) of torque, enough output to grant it a towing capacity of more than 5.2 tonnes (~ 12,000 pounds) and a 900 kg (~ 2,000 pounds) payload.
A six-speed automatic transmission divides all that power between the four wheels.
The Nissan Titan comes equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels, extensive underbody protection and trailer-sway control. The will be an available cover for the truck bed, and something like the will eventually be offered.
The noticeably premium interior is fitted with Nissan’s ultra-comfortable Zero gravity seats (developed in collaboration with NASA), a 7-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, a 12-speaker , and several 12-volt power outlets, and large cup holders that can hold 32-oz Gatorade bottles.
Occupants are also treated to many practical storage solutions, including a large center console that can fit a 15-inch laptop; removable, lockable, drainable and watertight storage boxes that can’t be seen from street-level; and, in Crew cab models, fold-up second-row seats with a lockable storage box beneath.
The long list of safety features includes a 360-degree camera; object detection and blind spot warning systems, and tyre pressure monitoring.
Pricing for the Australian-spec Nissan Titan XD starts at $139,000 before on-road costs for the crew-cab variant, $105,000 before on-road costs for the single cab and $135,000 for the Pro-4X sports model, which comes with Bilstein suspension among other features.
All models come with a three-year warranty.
How Does ‘Holden Corvette’ Sound? The ‘Vette is Australia-Bound
With production of the Holden Commodore coming to an end in 2017, a right-hand drive Corvette might just be what GM-loyal Aussies have been asking for as a replacement.
The Commodore’s demise leaves General Motors’ Holden division without a true sports car. Earlier rumors indicated it would be the Chevrolet Camaro that would fill the void, but a Holden spokesman the coupe is only designed for left-hand drive markets.
New trademark applications reveal that it will actually be a Corvette-based model that makes the long journey Down Under.
According to Australian magazine , GM has been working diligently to trademark the Corvette logo in the country; however, the government has repeatedly rejected the application on the grounds that the Chevy bow-tie logo found on the right side of the Corvette’s winged emblem (pictured above) bears too much resemblance to the Red Cross’ logo. Fortunately, GM isn’t throwing in the towel.
The model in question (not pictured above) will be based on the eighth-generation Corvette, which reports indicate will have a mid-engined layout rather than the front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout that has characterized all Corvettes to date.
The Corvette is going global, and Australian model could go a long way to bolster its image to the world. But please, just please, don’t call it “Holden Corvette”.