Will we lose the auto industry?
AUSTRALIA could be down to just one car manufacturer within the next few years, former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett has warned, saying local players will continue to struggle against declining productivity and a rising currency.
Mr Kennett is the latest high-profile figure to question the economic value of the billions in subsidies directed at the sector, after local producer Toyota announced 350 job cuts at its Altona factory in south-west Melbourne this week.
As premier of Victoria during the 1990s, Mr Kennett negotiated with Toyota over the expansion of its Altona plant.
Advertisement: Story continues below
But Mr Kennett said the combination of a historically high Australian dollar, the high cost base of local producers, and changing consumer trends had put local manufacturing under pressure.
''We don't have a right as a nation to be a car builder. I can see another two car companies going in the next year to two years,'' Mr Kennett told The Saturday Age.
Read more at Brisbanetimes.com.au