Well, Toyota is going to be taking about 2,500 shrimps off the barbee in 2017 — the automotive manufacturer announced in February that it’ll be closing down its Australia plant in 2017, slashing 2,500 direct jobs and leaving the Down Under without any trace of an automotive manufacturing sector.
Why Did They Leave?
The reason? Price. Sure, there are a number of factors that go into any decision made by a multinational corporation, but for these industry hegemons, the most important one is always the profit. Simply put, Toyota realized that it’s too expensive to manufacture automobiles in Australia, especially considering newer opportunities to manufacture vehicles in developing countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, both of which feature a booming middle class, lower costs, and ultimately more appealing production base.
Trending (in the bad sense)
Unfortunately for Australia, having automotive manufactures ditch the Down Under is nothing new. Ford is leaving in 2016 and General Motors announced earlier that it would be leaving in 2017. What’s more, automotive manufacturing is no small ball in Australia: according to Rueters and government data, “Australia’s car industry includes about 150 companies working in sectors from components to tooling, design and engineering, with more than 45,000 people employed directly in the car and parts-making sectors.”
Further, Rueters reveals that automotive production in Australia has just about halved in the past decade, “to just above 200,000 in 2012 from more than 400,000 in 2004.” That’s a pretty jarring statistic, and such a rapidly declining industry certainly says something about the government policies that were in place to construct it (or at least about the potentially mammonistic corporate standards of automotive giants.)
Another interesting fact about the whole fiasco was detailed in the Globe and Mail’s Iain Marlow, reporting that “by 2017, Australia will join oil-rich Saudi Arabia as the only G20 economy without a major auto industry, and all the economic activity and middle class jobs that come with it.”
Looking Toward the Future
The foregoing facts and statistics are all pretty discouraging when it comes to the health of the Australian automotive industry, but there is still hope. With so much of Australia’s auto industry out on the job market, that means that there is a lot of labor sitting around, waiting to be utilized at any minute. Bailing out Australia’s auto industry is an option, but it won’t fix the problem in the long term; instead, what Australia should be doing is investing in further education and training for their work force.
Though, investing in additional training and education for a strained workforce will not be easy for Australia, a nation whose current administration is actively trying to manage a slowdown in their $1.5 trillion economy, as a decade-long mining investment boom slows. In the end, the people of Australia will have to decide where they want the future of their industrial relations. As citizens of a representative democracy, Australians will have to exercise their right to vote as the auto industry weakens and the domestic economy bears the brunt of the damage.
Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited offers the best auto repair Columbia, MO has to offer, where their expert staff can get your car back on the road in no time.