It’s sad, and in some ways, surreal, watching the death of a hugely important industry, especially one that’s as storied and beloved by members of the public. It’s a slow, painful death filled on all sides with victims of circumstance. It’s also where I got my first break as an engineer just six, short years ago when the industry was at least treading water. How times have changed.
As Holden has now announced they too will leave our shores in 2017, they leave behind more than sixty years of manufacturing and though I’m on the Blue Oval side of the fence, I can’t help but feel sadness at the passing of another great Australian automotive icon and grieve with my fellow Australian petrolheads.
The blow is that it comes barely six months after Ford announced the same thing and will now leave Toyota as the only full manufacturer here. Well, I doubt Toyota will be around for much longer too at the rate manufacturing volume keeps declining. I fully expect Toyota to wait until the new year to announce that the current generation Camry is the last built in Australia as well. At least Ford can fall back on their design and regional engineering departments to cushion the impact. Holden doesn’t have the luxury of being a regional engineering hub and Toyota fiddles with minor technical settings on cars rather than do real design work here.
While the entire sorry saga might be murky as to what led who do make what decision, the high Australian dollar and lack of market demand is the main issue that Holden and Ford, ultimately were dealing with. However, I’m sure GM was on the fence between pulling the plug and staying for one more generation of cars, but were tipped into pulling out due the federal government’s hostile attitude towards GM in public the last couple of weeks. Well, here’s one less thing the Clever Country does. Not so clever now is it?