Ethan Automotive wants Automotive Transformation Scheme changed

Ethan Automotive is reportedly seeking $600 million from the federal government for a planned Edinburgh Parks factory, and has slammed the recent ATS funding reversal “cynical”.

The Australian reports that the auto start-up – which aims to be producing its first rear-wheel-drive, four-cylinder, $35,000 vehicle in 2018 – has criticised this week’s backflip on the $500 million cut to the Automotive Transformation Scheme.

The federal government took a pledge to remove $500 million from the ATS to the 2013 election. Industry minister Ian Macfarlane has said only about $100 million of a revised budgeted $900 million for the scheme until 2021 will be actually spent, with funding tied to the (rapidly decreasing) volume of cars being produced.

Chief executive of Ethan, Brigid Mahoney, called the funding model “cynical” and in need of adjustment.

“[The scheme] needs to be more useful for industry, not just the supply chain, but it needs to encourage new entrants rather than going back to general revenue or going to the big three carmakers,” she told The Australian.

“We’ve been talking openly with the Greens about amending the scheme to make it more usable, give component-makers more money to diversify and allow new entrants.’’

The ATS does not currently allow for funding to suppliers to overseas car companies or to new car companies – such as Ethan – looking to start up. Victorian and South Australian Greens Senators are aiming to change this.

According to the report, Ethan is seeking $600 million in federal funding, and is basing its low-volume production model on Aston Martin and Range Rover.

The company has planned for prototyping in 2017, and the sale of 12,000 vehicles the following year, increasing this to 22,000 annually by 2023.

Ethan Automotive is only four months old. Its supporters include local components makers Futuris Automotive and Precision Components. 

Directors include Family First party Victorian director Ashley Fenn and his wife Jacqueline.

Pictured: Mahoney, Greens Melbourne MP Adam Bandt, and Precision Components managing director Darrin Spinks.

Image: Facebook/Adam Bandt