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Car making 'not viable'

Ford Australia's president has told journalists car making is simply not viable in this country, forcing the vehicle giant to close manufacturing from 2016.

PT2M51S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2k2lp 620 349

"The Falcon name is inextricably linked to Australia and being produced here," Ford boss Bob Graziano says. "We will retire that name when we retire that vehicle (in 2016)."

Just like that.

No discussion with Australians.

An Australian classic: the 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO.

An Australian classic: the 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO.

No hint of returning the Falcon design rights to the taxpayers and car owners who have subsidised its development.

No talk of donating the Falcon badge to the country that rightfully owns it.

No chance of another car company taking over the Falcon and reviving it.

Just goes to show we don't have an “Australian” car making industry.

Australians should be mad as hell that an American company can make a decision overnight in Detroit then hours later pull the plug on one of our national icons.

We need to decide whether we want to be in control of our economy and tax dollars or leave it to Detroit and Nagoya.

We are at the whim of Ford, General Motors and Toyota.

We are at the whim of their governments.

When the Japanese government slashed the value of the yen, Australian cars lost out.

When the Americans pumped their economy full of cash and slashed interest rates, Australia lost out.

When the Americans rescued their car industry after the GFC, Australians were doomed to losing the Falcon.

Yet we kept pumping in money with too few guarantees.

We need to grab the wheel and regain control.

We should head off the next “surprise” announcement about the cessation or further scaling back of manufacturing here.

The federal government should extract from GM and Toyota a guarantee of production and retention of jobs to a set date.

It can do this by renegotiating handouts and tax breaks to the multinationals.

If GM and Toyota don't agree, then those subsidies should stop and the funds be directed to retraining, innovation and development of a truly Australian car.

To do that we need to reclaim the name “Falcon” and its design.

Surely with our car making expertise and business savvy someone can produce a new Falcon as a niche vehicle.

It would cost more, but thousands of Australians would willingly pay.

If no small-scale manufacturer can make a new Falcon pay, then we have no alternative.

We have to spend the taxpayer handouts on the car restoration industry.

Every clapped out Aussie car for sale second hand on the side of the road could be restored to its former glory.

Parts makers would make a killing.

Mechanics would become world leaders.

We'd become a unique nation proudly driving around in old Falcons and Holdens and Toyota Crowns.

And we'd be in control of our destiny.