On Tuesday, Toyota Australia president and chief executive Max Yasuda warned that continuing industrial action would hurt Australian operations and the cars could be produced elsewhere.
He said the company was already at a disadvantage due to the strong Australian dollar, high local costs and reduced volumes.
"If Australian operations are uncompetitive and perceived as unreliable, these cars can be made at another Toyota plant," he said.
- Herald Sun, Sep 16, 2011
I really do not feel sorry for the Toyota Motor Company. As far as the Australian economy goes, they have in the past already received subsidies for car which they were already selling, been in disputes with the Australian Taxation Office for shifting profits overseas to avoid tax and on more than one occasion.
Admittedly Toyota are a corporation which does mean that like every other corporation, they are self-interested in profit which of itself is perfectly reasonable but (and I do happen to feel sorry of the people working in the plants who have felt the need for industrial action) with an attitude which defeats one of the factors which produces the product you sell in the first place, I just don't see how this is useful.
Assuming Toyota does decide to pull its Australian operations, the effects would go far beyond the few thousand people working just at Toyota plants. There are all sorts of related industries making componentry, brakes, paints, glass, plastics mouding etc etc etc which would also suffer.
Three years ago I suggested something daft and to be perfectly honest, I'd be willing to do it again.
I have been overseas on a number of occasions and the thing that strikes me about looking at cars in other countries is that even if you have an "identical" car, the Australian version of it seems to be better built and holds together longer; you can actually prove this emempirically.
The average age of cars in Australia is 9.7 years, where as in the UK it's 6.8 years and the US it's 7.7 years. If you look at the average life of cars built in Australia is 15.7 years whereas for all imports it's only 13.0 years.
To reiterate what I said in Horse 878, I have faith in Aussie workers to build a better car than the rest of the world and statistical data suggests that that faith is well grounded.
So why would I tell Toyota to get lost? To put it bluntly, I have more faith in the workers at Toyota plants than I do in the Toyota Motor Company.
If Toyota do want to leave, then goodbye, thanks for coming. I'll make the same offer to Toyota as I did to Mitsubishi.
I'm willing to offer $1 in exchange for the Australian Operations. and I'm laying it on the table now. There's your offer. I know that I could have Australia's biggest car company in five years for the simple reason that Australian workers building cars for Australian conditions do a better job, and I think that the general public appreciates this.
People are willing to pay a premium for a properly built motor car. Look at the success of Mazda and VW of recent years. If you look back over the past 60 years, Holden and Ford built their positions as the then market leaders on precisely this principle.
$1 - There it is.