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EDITORIAL: Australian car industry: Let’s look ahead after Holden demise

It is with a tear in the eye that many Australian car enthusiasts will respond to news that the iconic Holden car brand will soon become a thing of the past.

Confirmation that parent company General Motors will end the brand from the end of this year threatens to cut as deeply into the Australian psyche as the pay packet of hundreds of workers set to lose their jobs.

Generations have considered the Holden brand a quintessential part of Australian society since the firm started as a saddlery manufacturer 164 years ago. 

This has continued regardless of American multi-national corporation General Motors overseeing the company since the 1930s.

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But like everything, things change and we wonder where to next if Australia, its states and regions want to play a significant role in a new vehicle-manufacturing era?

Are we dead and buried as a production-line manufacturer for cars of the future or does the exit of Holden present a point in time representing a trigger for Australian industry to explore new opportunities?

A need or desire for cars and vehicles has never been greater, but the cars of tomorrow, and in some cases today, are considerably different to what society has produced in the past.

And how we make and assemble a car of the future, based on our ready access to all sorts of technology, materials and knowhow, might be dramatically different to the massive-scale international production model.

Successful car development has long been about collaborative efforts involving firms specialising in various fields, whether it be for engineering, bodies, chasses and so on.

We see this type of arrangement in the creation of all sorts of end products in many industries.

The formula is still there but perhaps open for a fresh modified value-adding way designed to look after Australian business and in turn workforce interests.

There are always opportunities when confronted with a relatively blank canvas to come up with something that can work in a modern environment.

We have considerable assets and knowhow at our disposal and importantly, from a Wimmera perspective, an exploration into any manufacturing enterprise could heavily involve the regions. 

This is especially the case considering that’s where much of our renewable energy needed to fire industry in the future is and will be produced.

AME Systems in Ararat, which manufactures electrical wiring harnesses and assemblies and has fulfilled major contracts, some involving military vehicles, has also proved how an Australian-owned regional firm can play a role in product development.

There are also countless small-scale examples of Australian ingenuity that constantly appear on the market.

A global demand for cars to feature all sorts of whiz-bang technology and efficiencies and, critically, be affordable can only grow.

It seems mad if we were to throw in the towel. 

The entire February 19, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!