Australia’s motor industry takes a final breath as Toyota decides to quit operations

By @ZeNovice on
Toyota Australia
Holden cars are pictured at a dealership located in the Western Australian city of Perth December 12, 2013. Reuters/David Gray

The Australian motor industry is knee-deep in trouble, a fact more or less confirmed by the announcement that Toyota will not make its new Camry model in the country. On Dec. 9, Toyota CEO Max Yasuda stated that the company will shut down its auto factories in Australia by the end of 2017.

Talking about the decision, Yasuda said, "We did everything that we could to transform our business, but the reality is that there are too many factors beyond our control that make it unviable to build cars in Australia." The company further said that the costs of building cars in Australia was proving to be too much, and that building cars elsewhere would save the company a lot in labour costs.

Toyota had been in operation in Australia since 1963. Mitsubishi, GM and Ford have already quit operations in Australia. In 2008, Mitsubishi stopped manufacturing cars in their Adelaide plant, Ford followed suit pulling down its manufacturing plants last year. With Holden shutting down its production facilities in Australia, Toyota remained as the last major automaker in the country.

Ramifications

Closing of Toyota’s factories in Australia will result in the loss of around 2,500 jobs in the Australian automobile market. This figure has been provided by the company itself, attributing the decision to the strength of the Australian dollar along high production costs in the automotive market.  

"If the car industry in Australia shuts down, that's 40,000 jobs. If these plants close, those repercussions will be felt right across, particularly eastern Australia, but right across Australia," Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said.

What’s the new Camry going to be like?

According to statement at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, Toyota’s 2018 Camry model will be an import from Japan and is purported to be an up-to-date addition to the Camry line. It will be a family-sized vehicle featuring fuel efficiency, Toyota said.

A lot of attention has been paid to safety as well. The new Camry will have autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian recognition systems installed to ensure passenger safety. The car is expected to receive a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Also, there will be three engine choices — four-cylinder and V6 petrol and a petrol-electric hybrid. The body, paint, equipment, capacity and comfort will all be enhanced compared to previous models. Toyota further confirms that the new Camry model will have more boot space, including an eight-inch infotainment display.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda talked about the new car, saying, "Our goal was simply to make this new Camry as unexpected and provocative as possible." While Toyota fans are awaiting the new model with immense anticipation, Australians don’t seem quite happy as the auto industry lies on the brink of collapse in the country.