MACHINERY and equipment manufacturers have done well despite the intensely competitive situation in the automotive market, largely driven by the ongoing strength of the Australian dollar.
Andrew McKeller, Chief Executive, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), said automotive manufacturers have done well in maintaining export volumes but expects to see the market flatten out.
“While exports have been consistent, what this means is that it has been difficult for those manufacturers to break into new export markets or expand,” McKeller explained.
He said another challenge for industry will be the Federal Government’s review of industry policy next year.
“Industry will clearly need to focus on the outcomes of this review and ensure that the policy arrangements continue to support future investment in the sector,” McKeller told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
Rod Keane, Executive Director, Manufacturing GM Holden, said the strong Australian dollar is adding pressure to an already hyper-competitive domestic market.
“If you consider the Australian dollar has moved from US56¢ five years ago to around US92¢ to now, that is a huge change in the cost structure in this marketplace, that kind of change in that timeframe is unprecedented.”
Keane said with a greater influx of brands and models in the domestic marketplace and the fierce global competition in export territories, it’s all about continually improving operational efficiencies for Australian manufacturers.
“Holden has made significant investments in technology to provide productivity, quality and flexibility improvements.
“We also heavily invest in our employers and training to ensure we are globally competitive in what we do,” he told Manufacturers Monthly.
Keane said despite pressures in the marketplace, 2008 is looking to be an exciting year for GM Holden, with the launch of the Pontiac G8s to the US, as well as a forward thinking agenda incorporating changing environmental and consumer expectations.