As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Australia’s Best New Car News, Reviews and Buying Advice

Ship Out Or Else: Holden Told To Increase Exports

holden_logo_01New Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has given Holden a blunt piece of advice: export more if you want more support. With the red lion brand finding public support dwindling thanks to its near sighted attitude, it’s advice Holden itself are probably well aware of.

Macfarlane has said he’d like to see Holden with an export rate of around 30%; currently the numbers are 17% against Toyota’s 72% which begs the question: are Toyota making a better product or have a better export market situation? The local arm of General Motors has tried exports before and currently has the Caprice being sold into the US as a Caprice policepolice vehicle.  It was also sold into the Middle East successfully yet doesn’t appear to have been continued as a market, with the exchange rate a telling indicator. In 2005 Holden shipped out over 60, 000 vehicles to the US and Middle East, about 38% of its production. Aiding that was having the dollar buying just 71c US. Now it’s more in the region of 95c…. Counting against Holden currently is the economic value of the dollar, plus the expectation that, from 2016 onwards, the two vehicles it will build here in Australia will also be built for and by overseas markets, further cruelling a long term export market.Toyota loses around $2500 on each Camry exported but, crucially, with such a high number of imported Toyotas sold, makes that back on those imported sales. MacFarlane says: “I know (Toyota is) doing it at a loss, I’d like to stop that happening,” said Mr Macfarlane.“But that shows real dedication to me to Australia. That’s what Toyota are about.” Toyota has also just completed its one millionth export Camry.

Holden is also copping flak for importing wheels from the US for its high end Redline models whilst ROH Wheels, once a major supplier and Export Toyota Camrylocated just 25 kilometres from Holden in Adelaide sits waiting. Toyota sources all of its rolling stock from ROH; Holden insists it’s to do with the higher than expected demand for their new VF Commodore and, in particular, the Redline, as there’s now a three month waiting list. It’s also better news for the struggling company, with demand for the Commodore firmly placing the range into the top five sellers in Australia.

Another issue with Holden is the increasing non local componentry in the Commodore; the Falcon is 70 percent locally supplied whilst Toyota is 65%…the Commodore is around fifty percent whilst the success story that is Cruze is even lower, at just 30%. In just the last week, a number of staff from Holden’s purchasing and admin sections were let go and this is on top of a number of design and engineering staff at about the same time. Coming into play is the new government’s forthright attitude and its confirmation of restructuring car industry funding. Says Mr Macfarlane:  it will make good on its pre-election promise to cut $500 million from the $5.4 billion set aside for car manufacturing industry assistance.“We’re not giving back the $500 million, so I’ve got to come up with a solution there,” said Mr Macfarlane. “And then we’ve got to have a long term plan which will be ‘The End’, in capital letters, in black, six feet high, ‘This is all we’re ever going to give you’. That’ll be the end. I won’t be seeing car companies after that.”

It’s not shaping up to be a smooth road for the red lion.