Cash coup for Ford and Holden

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By PAUL GOVER

AUS­TRALIA’S two heart­land car brands, Ford and Holden, have a re­newed fu­ture thanks to cash and com­mit­ments from Can­berra and Detroit.

Ford has just won a $103 mil­lion life­line that locks the Fal­con and Ter­ri­tory in place un­til at least 2016, while Holden is clos­ing fast on a deal to ce­ment its man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tion in South Aus­tralia through un­til 2020.

Both com­pa­nies now join Toy­ota Aus­tralia, which has just switched its Al­tona fac­tory to an all-new Camry and is spend­ing $350 mil­lion on a fresh en­gine fac­tory, with solid com­mit­ments from their head of­fices to on­go­ing op­er­a­tions in Aus­tralia.

The new deals come af­ter high-level meet­ings in Detroit this week be­tween the Fed­eral Min­is­ter for In­dus­try, Se­na­tor Kim Carr, and South Aus­tralian premier Jay Weather­ill and a range of se­nior Mo­town ex­ec­u­tives up to Ford Mo­tor Com­pany’s CEO Alan Mul­laly and the chair­man of Gen­eral Mo­tors, Dan Ak­er­son.

The ma­jor fo­cus is de­vel­op­ment of a fresh co-in­vest­ment strat­egy be­tween the Fed­eral govern­ment and the car­mak­ers, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the $3.4 bil­lion fight­ing fund in­cluded in the Au­to­mo­tive Trans­for­ma­tion Scheme as part of the mo­tor in­dus­try plan that runs through to the end of the decade. Se­na­tor Carr was up­beat when he emerged from the talks, firstly to pledge his sup­port of Holden and to an­nounce the Ford deal, which has been fast-tracked in less than six months.

‘‘We had very, very pro­duc­tive con­ver­sa­tions. We are at the ta­ble,’’ Se­na­tor Carr said.

He con­firmed the Ford deal pro­tects the jobs of pro­duc­tion line work­ers at both Broad­mead­ows and Gee­long, de­spite dis­mal Fal­con sales in 2011 and to­tal out­put which was down to only 45,000 ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing the Ter­ri­tory SUV and Fal­con ute.

Se­na­tor Carr also said his pri­or­ity for Holden was en- sur­ing no job losses at Fish­er­mans Bend, the heart of its en­gi­neer­ing and de­sign op­er­a­tion, or at the Ade­laide fac­tory that makes the Com­modore and com­pact Cruze.

‘‘We are in the busi­ness of fight­ing for jobs. That’s what this is all about. Fight­ing for Aus­tralian jobs and fight­ing for part­ner­ships that take us through the rest of this decade,’’ Se­na­tor Carr said.

He said the new deals will pro­tect smaller com­pa­nies that sup­ply com­po­nents to the ma­jor mak­ers, as well as draw­ing in­vest­ment from off­shore sup­pli­ers.

The Ford deal is signed and sealed, while every­thing points to a Holden con­tract within six months.

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