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Holden bullish despite Ford closure

By Stephen Corby, 23 May 2013 Industry

Ford, Australia, close, factories, employees, history

Ford's announcement that it will cease local manufacturing has taken Holden entirely by surprise, and given its VF Commodore launch a black eye.

Ford's announcement that it will cease local manufacturing has taken Holden by surprise, on the day of the media launch of its new VF Commodore.

Holden’s Chairman and Managing Director, Mike Devereux, was in the NSW Snowy Mountains with most of Australia’s motoring media when the Ford bomb dropped.

Suddenly, the new-generation Commodore wasn’t the biggest media story of the day.

It has long been speculated that if Ford quit Australian manufacturing, Holden would inevitably follow.

Suppliers who require the volumes provided by having three local manufacturers will find the going tough – leaving the local industry precariously balanced.

Devereux was bullish, however, despite the saddening news, and clearly annoyed at Ford stealing Commodore's thunder.

“Despite what’s happening at Ford, I think car manufacturing can survive and it can thrive in this country,” he told Wheels. “I think this is a reminder of how tough it is for manufacturers in Australia.

“But what I was ready for today, and what I will continue to do, is to launch the new Commodore. I don’t want what’s happened today to distract from that.”

But while Ford’s announcement has thrown the Australian manufacturing industry into jeopardy, Devereux is confident Holden will remain if it continues to work closely with the state and federal governments. “We’re going to keep having discussions with the government,” he said. “We need competitive policy that is recognising what’s happening in this country. And I think both sides of politics realise how important having a car industry in this country is.”