Note: This was prepared as part of research for a client. I thought it could be useful to share as I couldnt find anything similar online. Please credit this site and D.C. Haas if you use it in any research or papers.
1896 – First car built in Australia by David Shearer
1898 – Internal combustion engine factory built by Harley Tarrant
1901 – Upon federation trade between former colonies becomes duty free, with tariffs imposed upon imported goods to provide the major revenue stream for the new Australian nation.
1902 – Tariff on imported car bodies introduced in Customs Tariff Act.
1903 – Local production of cars from a factory built by Harley Tarrant.
1905 – Deakin government directs Australian companies benefiting from high tariffs to ensure Australian workers receive a fair wage.
1907 – A preference tariff rate introduced for vehicles imported from the UK. Known as the BP (British Preferential) duty. Eliminated in 1974.
1908 – Motor vehicles first identified as a separate product group in the Customs Tariff - separate tariff known as Lyne Tariff
1909 – Imported Ford Model ‘T’ cars begin sale.
1911 – The Tudor tariff introduced, imposes further duties on car body imports.
1916 – Hughes government imposes ban on importation of foreign made car bodies. This is a wartime measure to preserve foreign capital (but maintained post-war)
1917 – Holdens Motor Body Builders begin production of car bodies for imported Chevrolet chassis.
1918 – Ban on foreign car bodies is lifted, pre-war tariffs on bodies and panels doubled, high tariffs on imported chassis, lower tariffs on unassembled chassis. The aim of these measures was to provide an incentive for the local assembly and production of cars and associated investment.
1921 – The Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Act 1921 known as the Greene tariff is introduced. Attracts foreign car manufacturers to invest in local production.
1921 – Anti-dumping measures introduced.
1925 – Ford (of Canada) builds a factory in Geelong. Begins vehicle assembly operations.
1926 – The Customs Tariff 1926 and 1928 known as the Pratten Tariffs increase many rates.
1929-1932 – The Scullin tariff - Scullin and Lyons government’s double existing automotive related tariffs.
1931 – The Australian pound and UK pound sterling are no longer at parity. This follows the collapse of the gold standard in 1929. Australia devalues pound by 25%
1933 – GM takes over Holden. GM and Ford dominate local car market
1936 – Lyons government introduces increased tariffs on imported engines, chassis and bodies. A ‘bounty’ is paid for each engine produced locally. The long term aim of these measures is to provide incentives to build an Australian Car.
1939 - Britain's share of the Australian imported vehicle market is 40%
1939 – The Australian car industry at the end of the 1930s consisted largely of the assembly of imported C.K.D. chassis using some Australian made parts, and the manufacture of complete bodies, mostly from Australian panels, but also from imported panels.
1940 – Australian Government signs a deal with Australian Consolidated Industries to build a car with government assistance. Plans scrapped as Second World War continues and war production diverts resources.
1944 – Australian Government announce formation of a government run car manufacturing company unless one is established by private enterprise.
1945 – Australian Government agree to provide assistance to GM if it can build a car with 90% Australian content.
1947 – All imports and exports now valued in Australian pounds not UK pound sterling. Tariff rate reduced from 57% to 48% to compensate.
1948 – The dollar crisis peaks and import quotas for North American cars are reduced from 60 to 90 percent.
1948 – GM/Holden deliver the 48/215 to the Australian market. It is Australian built to an American design.
1949 – GM, Ford Chrysler and International Harvester agree to raise local content on cars if duties on some imported components is reduced.
1951 - Britain's share of the Australian imported vehicle market rises to 80%
1952 – Import licensing on new cars introduced.
1952 – Standard, Rootes, Rover, Volkswagen, Morris and Austin expand Australian operations.
1951 – 1955 – British and German companies create Australian subsidiaries to manufacture automotive electrical, transmission and shock absorber components. Smaller Australian automotive component companies begin operations to satisfy domestic demand.
1953 – The local content of Australian built cars increases: Ford Customline 75 %, the Ford Consul and Zephyr 65% and Chrysler's De Solo, Dodge, and Plymouth 60%
1955 – The value of imported bodies and cars has declined by 61% while local production has increased.
1958 – Local content of Australian built cars reaches 77%. Repco is Australia’s largest automotive component manufacturer.
1962 – Import licences for vehicles abolished. Export of iron ore permitted.
1963 – Toyota begin importing vehicles
1964 – Menzies Local Content plan. To maintain a local component manufacturing industry, the Menzies government introduces local content plans. Duty on imported components is linked to local content in car production. Large manufacturers required to maintain 95% local content in cars produced in high volume, with lower percentage requirement in low-volume production cars.
1964 – 150,000 EH Holdens with 100% local content built locally.
1965 – Japanese carmakers begin sales of low-cost smaller cars. GMH, Ford, Chrysler and Leyland Australia have combined market share of 86%
1966 – Tariff on completely built up cars raised from 35% to 45% giving Australia the second highest CBU tariff in the world.
1966 – Nissan-Datsun begin importing vehicles
1970 – Minerals comprise 25% of Australian exports in dollar terms
1971 – Car market distorted by low-volume models designed to game the 1964 local content plan. Government phases out low-volume assembly plans.
1972 – Nissan and Toyota ask permission from the Australian Government to build local factories and manufacture cars under the high-volume plans.
1973 – OPEC oil shock drives petroleum prices up. Inflation rises by 13%
1973 – Whitlam government cuts tariffs by 25%. Vehicle tariff falls to 33%
1973 – Australian manufactured car market share continues its decline. GMH, Ford, Chrysler and Leyland Australia have combined market share of 86%
1974 – Tariffs on imported cars returns to 45% rate
1974 – Leyland Australia ceases local manufacture of cars entirely. Begins importing CBU cars. Big four becomes big three.
1974 – The BP (British Preferential) duty is eliminated. This favourable duty for UK manufactured vehicles imported into Australia dates from 1907.
1974 – Prime Minister Gough Whitlam chooses a Mercedes as his official car, enraging local manufacturers.
1975 – Whitlam government imposes quotas on automotive imports. Effective assistance to the vehicles and parts sector rises from 54% to 79%.
1976 – Nissan and Toyota receive permission from the Fraser government to build local factories. Big three becomes big five.
1977 – Nissan-Datsun begin local production of the Datsun 200B
1978 – Mitsubishi Japan purchase 50% of Chrysler Australia
1978 – in response to import pressure the Fraser government increases tariffs on CBU cars from 58% to 75%
1979 – The Lynch Plan is announced. Under this scheme, Australia is to become a part of the ‘world car’ movement. GMH builds a $300m engine plant, with the aim to export at least half of its production of 300,000 4 cylinder engines per year..
1980 – Industries Assistance Commission report assesses that protection increases the cost of a locally manufactured car by $3000.
1980 – Local manufacturing declines to 74%
1980 – Mitsubishi buys out Chrysler Australia and takes over control of local Chrysler manufacturing facilities.
1980 – Renault closes its low-volume manufacturing facility and exits the Australian market. GM Holden closes its Sydney factory.
1981 – The Australian Government announces an automotive component Export Facilitation Scheme. Effective assistance to the vehicles and parts sector rises from 71% to 110%. This scheme allows vehicle manufacturers to reduce the level of local content in their vehicles below 85%, conditional on their export performance. The additional duty free entitlements (export credit) could then be used to import components free of duty or sold to other local vehicle producers.
1982 – Automotive manufacturing and component industries employ 72,700 people.
1983 – Tariff on imported vehicles is 57%
1983 – After several years of heavy losses, GMH retrenches hundreds of employees.
1983 – Hawke Keating government come to power, with a focus on economic reform.
1983 – Australian dollar floated.
1984 – Button Car Plan – provide protection to manufacturers, while allowing an orderly transition to a completely open market. Import quotas declined from 20% in 1984 to zero in 1988. Import tariffs were to decline from 57% in 1984 to 15% in 2000. A stated aim was to see no more than three local manufacturing entities by the early 1990’s. An export facilitation scheme was established to provide external markets for Australian cars.
1984 – Average production volume per model in Australia at 28,000 vehicles.
1986 – Button plan updated with producers of low-volume models (less than 15,000) required to cease production of that model by December 1988, or face withdrawal of import concessions. A sliding scale of penalties would be introduced in December 1988 targeted at volumes of less than 40,000.
1986 – Australia’s automotive exports valued at $370m
1987 – Australia’s component manufacturing industry had shrunk to 35 manufacturers, producing 70% of the industry’s output.
1988 – Local content scheme abolished in order to increase productivity in automotive component industry.
1988 – The car tariff is at 45%
1988 – imported cars amount to 20% of market.
1988 – Ford and Nissan announce a local model sharing arrangement. Toyota and GM Holden announce a joint venture to share facilities and models.
1989 – Tariff on imported components paid by local manufacturers dropped to enable 15% of imported components for cars to be duty free, with additional components able to be imported at the prevailing passenger car tariff rate. Export credits could also be applied to lower the amount paid.
1989 – Five low volume local models cease production, and minimum number of vehicles for low-volume production raised from 15,000 to 30,000 vehicles per annum. 40,000 vehicles per annum considered to be the amount at which a vehicle can be manufactured profitably.
1989 – imported cars amount to 29.8% of market.
1990 – imported cars amount to 33.7% of market.
1990 – Four of the eight models produced locally have sales above 40,000 vehicles. Ford Broadmeadows builds over 100,000 vehicles.
1990 – An MIT study ranks the Australian automotive industry the lowest in the world in three areas: workforce flexibility, human resources management and overall management. It also finds the Australian factories to have the lowest rates of automation. It regards low volume production leading to no business case for investment in facilities and automation as a main reason for these figures.
1991 – Australia’s automotive exports (cars and components) valued at $1 billion
1991 – A package based on an Industry Commission report is announced. It continues phased tariff reduction and the export facilitation scheme. It also abolishes the 15% bylaw concession on imported components by 1996.
1994 – Australian Government signs up to Uruguay Round of GATT. Agree to continue removing tariffs.
1995 – The Australian automotive industry employs 47,000 people representing 0.6% of all employment.
1995 – 215,000 cars were imported, local vehicle production totals 312 000. This is around 40% of the market imported, versus 60% local manufacture.
1996 – The car tariff is at 25%
1996 – imported cars amount to 40% of market.
1997 – The car tariff is at 22.5%
1997 – It is decided to hold tariffs at 15% from 2000-2004. Tariffs would be reduced to 10 per cent in 2005 and to 5 per cent in 2010.
2000 – Toyota Australia earn $1 billion in export sales of nearly 50,000 Camrys
2001 – Automotive Competitive and Investment Scheme – Announces that tariffs on passenger vehicles and components will be reduced to 10% in 2005 and 5% in 2010. Between 2001 and 2015 the industry will receive $7.2billion of assistance through the Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme. This program amounts to about $480 million a year in assistance.
2002 – Locally manufactured vehicles accounted for 26% of the market.
2003 – Local vehicle production totals 413,869
2003 – Australian Government provide $200 million in assistance to Mitsubishi to continue operations in South Australia until 2005.
2003 – The Australian vehicle building industry employs 28,427 people
2003 – There are about 200 local vehicle component suppliers.
2004 – The Australian vehicle building industry employs 28,158 people
2004 – Local vehicle production totals 397,303
2005 – Tariffs reduced to 10%
2005 – Local vehicle production totals 352,773
2005 – The Australian vehicle building industry employs 27,108 people
2005 – Mitsubishi retrench 1000 workers from their Adelaide factory
2006 – The Australian vehicle building industry employs 26,135 people
2006 – Australian Government provides a $52 million grant to Ford with dollar-for-dollar assistance from the Victorian Government to expand design operations and develop left-hand drive versions of the Falcon and Territory.
2006 – Local vehicle production totals 333,347
2006 – GM Holden retrenches 1400 workers. Its local workforce now numbers 4300
2006 – Component manufacturer workforce loses 1800 jobs as manufacturers source components from Asia
2007 – Local vehicle production totals 345,828. 40% of this production volume is exported
2007 – Toyota Australia builds 150,000 cars
2007 – Australia vehicle exports total $4 billion.
2007 – Small cars total 26% of all sales
2007 – Import duties on passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in the 2006-07 financial year totalled $1.2billion. A subsidy of nearly $2000 per vehicle produced in Australia according to the Productivity Report and ABS data.
2007 – Mitsubishi Australia sell just 10,942 locally built cars (Mitsubishi 380 model)
2007 – The Australian vehicle building industry employs 24,500 people
2008 – The Australian vehicle building industry employs 20,189 people
2008 – Mitsubishi Australia sell just 4,482 locally built cars. Mitsubishi exit the Australian manufacturing sector, becoming an import only operation. The Adelaide factory is closed and all workers retrenched.
2008 – GM Holden retrench 500 jobs in Victoria
2008 – Rudd government announces $35m in subsidies for ‘green car’ local production. Victorian government also provided a $15m subsidy to Toyota and commits to the purchase of 2000 ‘green’ Toyota vehicles.
2008 – Australian Government provide $2b in subsidies to replace credit facility for car dealers when GM Credit and GE Financial exit Australian motor vehicle credit market.
2008 – Local vehicle production totals 252,448
2008 – GM Holden export 56,000 vehicles
2008 – In the U.S., GM Headquarters discontinues the Pontiac brand. GM Holden's exports decline by 86% as the Pontiac G8/Holden Commodore accounted for half of Holden's total annual production.
2009 – GM Holden export 9,000 vehicles
2009 – Local vehicle production totals 248,854
2009 – Only 16% of cars on Australian market are locally built.
2009 – Vehicle manufacturing industry and component supplier chain employs 68,000 Australians.
2009 – The Australian vehicle building industry employs 17,076 people
2009 – GM Holden close local four cylinder engine factory and retrench 500 employees. In Adelaide, they reduce two shifts to one.
2009 – Cars built in Thailand comprise 15% of local car market. They attract no tariff dues to the Thai/Australia FTA. Tariffs on cars imported to Australia attract 80% tariff.
2010 – Local vehicle production totals 219,194
2010 – The Australian vehicle building industry employs 16,371 people
2010 – Tariffs on imported passenger vehicles and components drop from 10% to 5%
2010 – Australian Government provides $149m to GM Holden for local production of four cylinder fuel efficient vehicle. South Australian Government also provides $30m.
2010 – Australian Government provides $42m to Ford for local production of four cylinder Eco-Boost Falcon.
2010 – Ford retrenches 240 employees
2010 – Last Australian tyre manufacturer ceases production and retrenches employees.
2011 – The Australian vehicle building industry employs 16,125 people
2011 – GM Holden begin production of small, front wheel drive vehicle ‘Holden Cruze’.
2011 – Bosch Australia announces retrenchment of 120 staff. Employment at Bosch’ Clayton facility has fallen from 2000 to 1200 and now just over a thousand. Bosch announced that the bulk of the remaining manufacturing activities would be relocated to other facilities, mainly in China and India, over a two-year period. The total workforce at Clayton would be reduced by 380 leaving approximately 700 employees.
2011 – Locally built car sales at 13.6% (Australia: 90,490) Imported cars from Japan (216,038), Thailand (109,653) and Korea (100,951)
2011 – Local vehicle production totals 224,754
2011 – New vehicle sales reach 1,008,347
2012 – Local vehicle production totals 233,306
2012 – The Australian vehicle building industry employs 17,308 people
2012 – New car sales total an all time high of 1.1 million cars. Market share for the big three stands at Toyota 45.6%, Holden 23.7% and Ford 18.7%. This figure comprises local and imported vehicles.2012 – The imported Mazda3 was the top-selling car with 44,128 sales with the locally built Holden Commodore fourth with 30,532 sales, down 25 per cent on 2011.
2012 – Australian vehicle exports total $2.4 billion.
2012 – Source of imported vehicles: Japan 38%, Thailand 17%, Germany 14%, South Korea 11%, Other 21%
2012 – Three local truck makers have 5% of domestic truck market. Iveco, Paccar and Volvo. All are subsidiaries of foreign manufacturers.
2012 – Toyota cut 350 jobs from its workforce at Altona to about 3000 employees, due to falling export demand.
2012 – Toyota Australia builds 94,000 cars locally
2010 – 2012 TOYOTA lost $700 million in three years, but is negotiating for more taxpayer dollars to build a new model in Australia. The loss equates to about $3500 for every car Toyota exported to the Middle East over the past three years. In the same period, the federal and Victorian governments contributed almost $100 million to Toyota's manufacturing operations - $35 million to go towards the local production of the Camry Hybrid and a further $63 million to go towards a $330 million upgrade of Toyota's engine factory at Altona.
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This information was prepared as part of research for a client. I thought it could be useful to share as I couldn't find anything similar online. Please credit this site and D.C. Haas if you use it in any research or papers.
Sources for some material provided here can be provided upon request.