News / Asia

    Pull Out of Japanese Car Maker Toyota Latest Hit To Australia's Economy

    FILE - Vehicles speed past a Toyota dealership in Sydney.
    FILE - Vehicles speed past a Toyota dealership in Sydney.
    Phil Mercer
    Academics and trade unions are warning that Toyota’s decision to stop car manufacturing in Australia could push parts of the country into recession. The Japanese automaker said this week it will close its assembly lines in Australia by the end of 2017.
     
    Toyota’s announcement is the latest incident in what has been a terrible year for Australia’s once-flourishing car making industry. 
     
    Last May, Ford said it would stop manufacturing in Australia, and General Motors announced late last year that it, too, would be closing down.
     
    Now, Japanese automaker Toyota is the latest to shut down production in Australia. Toyota said its move to end production in the southern Australian state of Victoria was “heartbreaking.” Senior managers blamed high labor costs and a strong Australian dollar, which has made Toyota cars sold overseas more expensive.
     
    The Australian government has also been unwilling to offer subsidies to offset higher costs for car manufacturers.
     
    More than two thousand Toyota workers will lose their jobs, but trade unions insist the departure of the Japanese motoring giant could leave 50,000 Australians out of work, wipe $19 billion from the national economy and tip the traditional manufacturing states of Victoria and South Australia into recession.
     
    It marks a striking turnaround for an industry that produced about 200,000 vehicles annually for the domestic and export markets and spent more than $540 million per year on research and development.
     
    Associate Professor John Spoehr, executive director of the Australian Workplace, Innovation and Social Research Center at the University of Adelaide, said carmakers have found it impossible to operate in Australia.
     
    “We now have one of the most competitive auto markets in the world with at least sixty different models here. In addition, we have had declining demand internationally as a consequence of the global financial crisis, and the rise of low-cost manufacturing in India, China and Thailand, and, more recently, a lot of uncertainty about the level of government assistance that the new federal government is willing to provide to the industry and that has only added to problem that we are experiencing,” said Spoehr. 
     
    The collapse of Australia’s car industry has dominated the first parliamentary session of the year. Prime Minister Tony Abbott's political opponents accuse the conservative leader of not doing enough to convince Toyota to not close down local operations.
     
    However, Abbott has argued that after just five months in office, he cannot be blamed for the collapse of an industry that has been in long-term decline.
     
    Australia's automotive sector has traditionally received billions of dollars in support from the government, but a national productivity commission recently recommended that financial backing should stop and car companies should cut costs instead.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora