Toyota to stop making cars in Australia from 2017
By Maggie Lu Yueyang
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T said on Monday it would stop making cars and engines in Australia by the end of 2017, marking the end of an era for a once-vibrant auto production base and the loss of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
Toyota's decision follows the planned exits of General Motors (GM.N: Quote) and Ford Motor (F.N: Quote) announced last year and would leave no global automaker remaining in Australia as high costs and a strong currency make it an unattractive production base.
"We did everything that we could to transform our business, but the reality is that there are too many factors beyond our control that make it unviable to build cars in Australia," Toyota Australia President Max Yasuda said in a statement.
About 2,500 jobs will be affected when the plant stops building cars in 2017, the company said.
Toyota's exit from Australia after more than half a century there is a setback to Prime Minister Tony Abbott's conservative government, which is seeking to manage a slowdown in the $1.5 trillion economy as a decade-long mining investment boom slows.
"This is obviously devastating news for everyone involved with Toyota. It's devastating for me and for the government," Abbott said in Canberra.
Union leaders were more vocal in their criticism of the government's handling of the auto industry's woes.
"The loss of the automotive manufacturing industry in Australia will have far reaching consequences around the country and throughout the economy," said Australia Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary David Oliver. Continued...