Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) announced Monday that it would pull out of Australia by 2017, 65 years after it started manufacturing in the country, and stated that the Big Minor Change Camry will be the last car the company produces under Toyota Motor Corporation Australia, or TMCA.
The company stated several reasons for its decision, including an unfavorable Australian dollar, high manufacturing costs and low economies of scale. The decision will mean that more than 2,500 TMCA employees will lose their jobs, and shocked employees reacted on microblogging site, Twitter, to express their displeasure over the news, which was conveyed to them by Max Yasuda, Toyota Australia president and CEO, and Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, on Monday afternoon at the Altona plant in Melbourne.
"This is devastating news for all of our employees who have dedicated their lives to the company during the past 50 years," Yasuda said in a statement, which noted that the country is the "most open and competitive new car market in the world" and that to continue building cars in Australia was "not viable, under any scenario we studied."
Toyota had stated in the past that it needed to cut labor costs to reduce its production cost per car by $3,800 by 2018 if it was to continue operating in the country, and Yasuda further noted: "Although the company has made profits in the past, our manufacturing operations have continued to be loss making despite our best efforts."
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, or AMWU, warned that the decision could cause an economic recession as this is the third auto company to announce that it would shut operations in Australia after General Motors Holden and Ford (NYSE:F).
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“This decision will see thousands of jobs exit Australia - not only at Toyota directly but all the way down the supply chain," Dave Smith, national AMWU vehicle secretary, said in a statement cited by the Sydney Morning Herald. "The magnitude of this decision in the community cannot be underestimated. We are looking at a potential recession all along the south-eastern seaboard."
Ford had announced last May that it will shut down its operations in Australia in October 2016, and estimated that its action would result in the loss of about 1,200 jobs. General Motors Holden took the same decision in December estimating 2,900 job cuts.
After Holden announced its decision in December, Toyota had warned that it was facing “unprecedented pressure” on its ability to continue operations in the country. However, the Australian government refused to provide extra benefits to the Japanese carmaker at the expense of the local taxpayer but, Prime Minister Tony Abbott reportedly spoke to Yasuda and asked the company to continue operations in the country. The Australian industry minister estimated in January that about 30,000 jobs will drain out from the industry if Toyota followed Ford and Holden out of the country.
A post on Twitter from JESSEGRAYSON1 read: "Toyota , Holden and Ford gone . When does the luxury car tax that protected them manufacturing here go as well ?"