Thursday, May 23, 2013

Goodbye, Ford. Now scrap the ADRs

Despite Canberra's largesse, the Ford Motor Company is apparently about to announce an end to  manufacturing in Geelong and Broadmeadows (not yet confirmed). That it lasted this long is the wonder, not that it is ending. How many other nations of 23 million souls can support two manufacturers, plus local assemblers? Not many, as Sweden's Saab recently demonstrated by falling over and expiring. (This was poetic justice, by the way. No company that builds its engines in reverse, with the exhaust manifold at the front of the block and directly behind the radiator, deserves to survive. But back to Ford.)

The question now is just what this government and its successor might suggest to "save" the car industry. More money, no doubt, as what is another $100 million or so to keep Paul Howes' dues-payers at their posts. An Abbott government might even choose to take the same route, especially if September sees it takes the seat of Corrangamite, where many Ford workers reside.

Let us hope someone who likes cars has the ear of PM Abbott, because this would be a splendid opportunity to re-work the industry for the general good, especially for the benefit of those who actually like motoring and cars. In addition to subsidies, Ford and GMH have been protected from competition by the army of bureaucrats which spenda its flexi-ytimed days working, re-working and forever expanding the Australian Design Rules. Import an interesting vehicle from overseas and, before you can give it the stick, expect to jump through hoops in order to bring sun-visor specifications up to government-mandated snuff. Yes, there are public servants who do nothing but regulate the shape and anchoring of sun visors.

If the industry dies, the ADRs should be buried with it, opening the way for an after-market auto industry. Many jobs would vanish, but so would subsidies -- and whatever remains and is rebuilt might actually be able to pay its own way.

And we could just see fine vehicles like this on our nation's roads.

Zero to 60mph in 4.6 seconds, with a top speed of 130mph -- and not an ADR-specified sun visor to be seen.

* apologies for using that horrible and debased word.


  1. No, No, No, Perfessor! This will not do!
    What is needed is a NEW INDUSTRY, based on the PTR concept. This will produce a viable alternative to the car for intra-city transit, and do away with the legacy "cattle truck" mentality that persists in Australia. Even WA is proposing yet another "light rail" system based on imported technology. Once again long suffering Perth will endure months of traffic disruption.
    The neatest thing with PTR is that it is a green field industry that would give Australia a much needed head start to replacing 100 year old technology. Jakarta has just closed the only rail link, and if ever city needed an innovative Transit system, it's Jakarta....and Delhi....and Beijing... and Bumbai.

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.May 24, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    My best girlfriend will only buy a car with heated seats. Feel that? she queries, whenever I get in it. She likes to keep a warm tush.

    Apart from a sporty look, I go for the after-sales service: getting my new car detailed for free each month for twelve months is just tops; it is never a mess, which my old one always was.

    Car manufacturers need to do more market research amongst girls who know what they want.