Toyota exit is end for industry

Toyota exit is end for industry

The Australian car industry will end in 2017 after Toyota said it would end production and sack at least 2500 people.

It puts at risk tens of thousands of jobs through the car-part supply chain with claims Adelaide and Melbourne - home to Australia's auto industry - will not recover from the closures until the late 2020s.

After Ford and General Motors Holden decided to end local production, Toyota said its Melbourne plant and its Asia-Pacific technical centre in Victoria would shut within three years.

Toyota's future in Australia, where it has been making cars since 1959, had been openly canvassed since Ford said in May it would leave.

Company president Akio Toyoda said the demise of the nation's car sector, coupled with the strong Australian dollar and free trade agreements with other car-making nations, all contributed to the decision.

"We believed we should continue producing vehicles in Australia and Toyota and its workforce here made every effort," he said.

"However, various negative factors such as an extremely competitive market and strong Australian dollar, together with forecasts for a reduction in the total scale of vehicle production in Australia, have forced us to make this painful decision."

Tony Abbott urged workers to remain upbeat.

"The important thing is to remember, while some businesses close, other businesses open," the Prime Minister said.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane declared "Australian industry will never be the same" as he denied the Government was culpable for the demise of local car making.

But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and shadow minister for industry Kim Carr said the Government had abandoned the car industry with devastating consequences.

They said the end of the car industry would drive up unemployment, particularly in Adelaide and Melbourne.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said Toyota's decision was a "devastating day" for the workers and would hurt component makers.

"The magnitude of this decision in the community cannot be underestimated," AMWU vehicle secretary Dave Smith said. "We are looking at a potential recession all along the south-eastern seaboard."

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