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Ford and GM may slash Aussie units

Automotive News reports on how both GM and Ford may engage in cost-cutting of their Australian manufacturing.

General Motors and Ford may end or curtail manufacturing operations in Australia, according to local news reports.

Mike Devereux, managing director of GM Holden in Australia, called for "co-investment" by automakers and the government to meet the costs of a new carbon tax. The Aussie government already has approved tax aid to households and is debating assistance to various industries.

Without aid, Holden could kill plans to build the a version of the Chevrolet Cruze in Adelaide, The Australian newspaper reported. That would put the factory at risk because of low volumes of the Commodore large car built there.

The paper, citing industry sources, also reported that Ford may shut its Geelong engine factory because world headquarters rejected plans to invest $75 million to upgrade the V-6 engine built there to meet tightened emissions rules.

Also, production at the plant has dropped as engine exports have softened, in part because of unfavorable currency rates.

Over the past two decades, Nissan and Mitsubishi shut down Australian manufacturing operations, citing a combination of high wages, low volumes, and low tariffs that made it cheaper to import cars than to build them in Australia.

Currently, GM, Ford, and Toyota are the only carmakers assembling vehicles in Australia.

(Source: Automotive News)