It’s been clear for a long time – well, all the time since Mitsubishi shut down in early 2008 – that Ford was the next Mitsubishi, so today’s plant closures aren’t that unexpected. Once again, as I more-or-less observed in a brief grab on ABC News tonight, it seems obvious there isn’t much point assisting an industry that is fundamentally unviable in Australia. Just how long the remaining manufacturers survive depends a lot on what happens to the exchange rate. If it falls down to, say, the 70-80 US cents range in the next few years, they might be able to survive into the 2020s, although they’d still need Government assistance, I expect.
I’ve previously presented my views on car industry assistance policy in a number of posts and in an article in Policy magazine. For example, see:
Coincidentally, I’ve just had a new article published in Policy magazine, this time on Government assistance to the film industry. The article isn’t available online, so I encourage you to buy a copy of Policy at the newsagent.