Look on the bright side
WE ARE living in a golden age of motoring. It may not always look that way, but cars have never been better. Or quicker. Or greener. Prices are great too, and Australia has never done better on exports or innovation.
Many people say the car industry is a parasitic drain on the economy, but it brings plenty of benefits — including exports that trail only mining in what they earn each year.
‘‘In Australia, cars are the largest manufacturing industry bar none. We directly support 66,000 families and put $5 billion in wages back into the economy every year,’’ says Mark Reuss, head ofGMHolden and chairman of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, who delivered a speech this week that contained several important messages and facts.
Reuss says Australia is facing some of the most challenging economic and market conditions in recent history, and carmakers and suppliers were under immense pressure.
‘‘We are facing the realities of operating in one of the most open and competitive vehicle markets in the world.’’
Reuss says there is a carrot and a stick for the Australian motor industry, but prefers to concentrate on the carrot.
‘‘Despite the challenges, automotive manufacturing in Australia still makes good sense . . . We have played a disproportionately high role in the global automotive industry.’’
Reuss says Australia is in a region of high growth for automotive products, and its carmakers should grow to take advantage of markets in the region and beyond.
‘‘What may be seen as a threat is, in fact, our biggest opportunity.’’
He says our ability
global investment in the car industry is critical if this opportunity is to be realised.
Holden has backed the chat with a new export deal for the Statesman, and we have more news today on the deal that puts the Ford Focus into local production and, more importantly, creates significant export potential.
Reward is there: GM Holden head Mark Reuss has his eye on carrots, not sticks.