If Toyota want to axe 3000 jobs because they can't be bothered to build cars in Australia, and Ford are thinking of giving the Falcon the chop, and Holden suspect that the next model Commodore will be the last, then it surely heralds the end of car manufacturing in Australia.
Or does it?
I bet that if the Federal Government would give me $145 million, I could very easily have viable car company within 12 months.
My basic premise is that if countries like Germany can produce world class cars, and countries like South Korea can go from making cars which were horrid 20 years ago to producing cars at least on par with those made in Japan, then why is it beyond Australia to do likewise?
Only three car companies build cars in Australia; those all of them are subsidiaries of foreign companies. All of them have proved in the past that if wages are too expensive on one country, they'll just up sticks and move elsewhere.
My gambit is that if a company was setup with the express purpose of building an all-Australian car then provided it was run with the intent of making just $1 of profit per year, then it could both retain those jobs in Australia as well as produce a World-Class car, tested in the toughest conditions on earth and export them.
Personally I can see no good reason why Australia should dig perfectly good iron ore out of the ground, to make steel, only to have it sold back to us in the form of cars.
Why can't we build a car as good as Audi, or Mercedes-Benz, or Honda in Australia? Is it simply beyond the capabilities of Australian workers? Is it really that hard?
So then, this is the challenge Australia. When the next Auto maker decides to naff-off, then let them. I'll take over the car factory and I'll give you back cars. I wouldn't be building the "big Aussie six" either.
According to VFACTS, the Mazda3 was the top selling car for 2011 followed by the Commodore, HiLux, Corolla, Cruze and i30. The Falcon comes in at No.9 and selling less than half of the number of Mazda3s. Apart from the Commodore which is only propped by by fleet sales (because if you exclude fleet buyers it falls to No.11, and the Toyota HiLux which is a tradie's vehicle, then the car which Australians are actually buying is a 2L car like they do in Europe.
The current model Focus comes with a 1.6L "Ecoboost" motor, the Cruze is sold with a 1.4L ITI Turbo, and the standard i30 comes with a 1.6L. Clearly then my new car will have to be a 1.6L car and most likely a hatchback.
Like all good cars it will need a name, and as we learnt from Homer's brother Herb in The Simpsons, who owned a motor company: "People don't want cars named after hungry old Greek broads! They want names like 'Mustang' and 'Cheetah'—vicious animal names,"
I had a look around to find all the "vicious animal names" that hadn't been used yet and thought it really quite odd that I can't think of even one car which is called a "Tiger".
Right then... this is the challenge.If someone wants to back me, I'll build the first car of a brand new marque. It will be a 1.6L Hatch and be called the Tiger. The Logo will be this:
Now then, who gonna give me the money? Anyone?...