Australian ... all over
“YOUSE meedja ’ave killed orf Holden,” reads a perpetual missive, which, though sent via email, still somehow resounds of infantile diction and reeks of beery aggro.
This flagrant reality denial used to amaze and amuse me.
It’s the equivalent of claiming the Soviet Union collapsed because one spring day Pravda ran the headline: “Communism — it’s a bit crap actually”. Such shouty and childish rhetoric now merely bores me.
The edifice of local car manufacture has crumbled because the cars it makes are not relevant or good enough. The people, having breathed a lungful of free choice, aren’t about to go back on the collective farm. With the financial Berlin Wall that was the tariff barrier dismantled, state-financed sedans were suddenly seen to have little allure and all the stale patriotic propaganda in a copywriter’s keyboard can’t change that.
Because it has not a single fleet or rental sale, the Mazda3 is a remarkable automotive success stories. Not much regarded elsewhere, here it is truly the national car — and a more glaring polarity to trad Aussie sixes is not to be had. This is especially remarkable given the outgoing car is no better than the fifth best car of its type.
Driving the VF Commodore against the Mazda6 diesel during Carsguide’s Car of the Year was to be dismayed.
It’s a great Commodore, but plainly most of you don’t care and haven’t for some time.
Ditto “rear-wheel-drive purity”. In the painfully constrained driving conditions of this country where motorists exist only to fill state government coffers,
RWD’s only tangible advantage is a smaller turning circle — unless, of course, you exist in the alternative reality of monthly car magazines.
Anyone who doesn’t blindfold themselves with the flag appreciates that the blame resides with the American auto companies that continued to make cars ever fewer people wanted.
There’s also the inconvenient truth that ceasing to build cars in Melbourne or Adelaide “does not affect our bottom line one cent,” as one Detroit auto-crat told me.
Just as some ancient Reds pine for Stalin, there are ostensibly adult Australians who believe that if the tariff ramparts were resurrected everyone would buy ’Strayan again and all would be well in our workers’ paradise. And maybe censor all subversive opinions while we’re about it.
The remaining argument for Australian carmaking is the one in which economic fundamentalists are uninterested — the small matter of the 45,000 workers who depend on it. I’d happily pay yet more taxes to subsidise the building of cars by Australians if the cars built are those that Australians want.
People’s choice: Carsguide’s COTY shows local vehicle building has crumbled