By on February 19, 2008

45979786.jpgPicture this: Toyota outsells GM and Ford combined. Chrysler is long gone, having sold their factories to a foreign automaker. Meanwhile, GM and Ford import all their products from low-wage countries except for large sedans, whose drooping sales figures are propped-up by fleet sales. Imports fill the top eight spots for retail sales. In the face of massive imports and a strong currency, the Big 3 (Toyota, GM, Ford) informs the feds that they’re considering ceasing all remaining domestic automobile production. Welcome to the Down Under (and out) car market of Australia.

American car enthusiasts tend to envision Australia as an American mini-me holdover from the good old days, when traditional RWD sedans with big straight-six and honking V8 engines dominated the roads and the sales charts. In that rose-tinted rearwards-gazing scenario, the Australian divisions of Detroit’s Big 3 carve-up big chunks of the market for themselves, stake claims on the best selling cars, and generate handsome profits for mother Detroit.

In reality, Australia’s domestic car industry is hanging on by a thread. In fact, the antipodean market offers a scary glimpse into the possible future of the American automobile industry.

Back in the day, Chrysler of Australia created some legendary machines with hemi six cylinder engines that Ford and GM’s V8s couldn’t catch. Ultimately, it was to no avail. In case you missed it (or you’re younger than thirty), Chrysler called it quits Down Under in 1980. Twenty-eight years after Chrysler handed the keys to their plant to Mitsubishi, they’ve announced its closure.

Analysts who think GM and Ford will get a boost if/when Chrysler goes bust in the US should consider the Australian example. Since Chrysler withdrew, GM's Holden and Ford-AU’s market share has fallen even more precipitously than their American parents'. Holden now accounts for about 15 percent of Australia's new car market. Ford is precariously close to single digits. Toyota dominates, with a commanding 25 percent market share and most of the top-selling cars and trucks.

And yet, Holden and Ford still claim bragging rights to the number one (Commodore) and number two (Falcon) selling cars in the land of Oz. Pay no attention to those men behind the curtain. In another eerie equivalent to stateside PR, their claims are based on smoke, mirrors and fleet sales.

In Australia, the major manufacturers have agreed among themselves to not reveal fleet sales. They believe (rightly) that the numbers would damage public perception of the home-town teams. The Sydney Morning Herald managed to get their hands on a set of stats– and no wonder they’re secret. No less than 81 percent of the Commodore’s sales and 88 percent of Falcon’s sales sailed with the fleets.

Amongst buyers paying with their own money, the Commodore was merely number nine; the Falcon a distant fifteen. Not surprisingly, the Corolla is tops with private buyers, followed by the Mazda 3 and the Toyota Yaris. Holden’s best seller (to the public) is the Korean-built Barina (a.k.a. Chevrolet Aveo).

It turns out that Australia isn’t a parallel universe, immune to oil prices and environmental trends. The market for large cars declined 37 percent in 2005 and 2006; and it’s still contracting. The Toyota Camry is the only locally-made four-cylinder large car. The Aussie Big Two never developed smaller cars, and didn’t build a single four cylinder car for… just about forever. Ford has only just started building the Focus locally.

Ford’s restyled Falcon has just been revealed, but it’s riding on a tired old platform that wouldn’t cut it beyond its loyal but rapidly shrinking fan base (think Crown Vic). Thankfully, Ford has just announced the final solution to the geriatric twosome: a clean-sheet next-generation RWD platform to be developed in Australia.

By the same token, Holden has become GM’s RWD “home room.” It’s vying for development of the small RWD Alpha platform. But exports of Aussie RWD vehicles are not viable (G8 excepted). In fact, Ford may import the next-gen RWD cars or stampings from the U.S. These development projects don’t guarantee a future domestic production industry.

Bottom line: GM and Ford’s Australian units are sinking fast. Holden reported a $145m loss in '06, and $146m in '07. Ford-AU nicked mother Dearborn’s pocketbook a bit more gently, with a loss of merely $40m. No wonder GM and Ford are throwing development dollars for rear wheel-drive (RWD) cars to the Aussies. Without the imported bucks, they might soon be toast.

Meanwhile, the Australian reports that senior auto executives are warning that “union trouble or higher wages would be a poison arrow” for local car manufacturing. And Toyota is “reviewing” local Camry production. At the same time, China has targeted Australia for future automotive exports.

Welcome to the future.

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54 Comments on ““On The Beach;” Is Ford and GM’s Future in Australia?...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    Taxes on vehicles and fuel are vicious down under, when it’s your own money you buy reliable cars that get good mileage and have decent resale. Much like here only intensified.

  • avatar
    jmack91z28

    GM and Ford aren’t going anywhere.

  • avatar

    jmack91z28:

    GM and Ford aren’t going anywhere.

    Agreed.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Future is fugly

  • avatar
    frontline

    Does Toyota sell Australia specific models like GM and Ford?

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    frontline: No, they sell international versions of their cars and the Hilux (previous Tacoma). Toytota’s factory in Australia builds the Camry and the Aurion (Avalon).

  • avatar
    miked

    @frontline – Yup, the aussies get all the cool Toyota stuff too! For example, the UZJ-105 Land Cruiser, which is the same as our newest generation UZJ-100, but they get a solid front axle! I could go on and on. If only they drove on the right side of the road, I’d be importing gray market stuff left and right.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Yes they do. It’s called Aurion

  • avatar
    jmack91z28

    You think the Australian economy is bad, what do you think will happen to the American economy if GM and Ford leaves?

  • avatar
    ghillie

    # frontline :

    Does Toyota sell Australia specific models like GM and Ford?

    I think that the Camry made here is the same as elsewhere (with 4 cylinders). The 6 cylinder version is called the Aurion – basically a Camry with slightly different nose and tail (I think) – this may be unique to Australia.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    @Stingray: the Aurion is sold in some other Asian countries also. It’s a sightly modified, upsacle version of the Camry.

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    Thanks for a very interesting article. I was (like many, I suppose) more under the impression you described as many of us being. That down under was an “American mini-me holdover”. I now know different. And I’m not happy about it, either.

    I’m going to have to stop reading this stuff. I just get more and more depressed.

  • avatar

    Australia has two things against it as a source of cars. Its own market is minuscule, as there are only about 20 million people, which is fewer than New York, or probably Texas. Second, it’s pretty damn far away from any big car markets.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    David Holzman: Australians manage to buy over a million cars a year (2007); not too shabby. No wonder China is eyeing them (and they’re not all that far away from them).

  • avatar

    The literary reference in the headline is apposite. Believe Graham Greene held Shute’s “On the Beach” as the only closed-ended novel he knew of: everyone’s dead in the end …

    One day we’ll be able to read and hear the whole GM story, once central actors have extricated themselves from whatever Omerta rules are keeping their mouths shut today – it will be quite a tale.

  • avatar
    V6

    “Ford’s restyled Falcon has just been revealed, but it’s riding on a tired old platform that wouldn’t cut it beyond its loyal but rapidly shrinking fan base (think Crown Vic).”

    this is blatant crap. the new Falcon is 80-90% new and has very sophisticated front and rear suspension. Yes, it’s not entirely all new like the VE Commodore, but the previous Commodore was still using a semi trailing arm IRS developed in the 70’s by Opel until 2006.

    When the all new VE was launched, the media was surprised by how good the ‘old’ Falcon was compared with the new Commodore, i’m sure the Falcon will once again be the medias pick

  • avatar
    frontline

    I do understand this is a right hand drive market but I can’t understand why GM and Ford have Aussie specific models[bodystyles]. How come these cars weren’t shared with other markets all along. I wonder if the 09 Camaro[with right hand drive] will be sold in Australia.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    V6: Here’s another perspective from a down under TTAC comentator (Kiwi_Mark_in_Aussie) on the new Falcon release a couple of days ago (regarding importing it to the US):

    “if you have any luck – no…the ford falcon (like the holden commodore) is a piece of shit…it corners much the same way a sea cow does…has a crap ride…piss poor build quality…and should only be inflicted on those whom you hate (and that goes for the decidly average commodore as well)…

    you do not want this…

    or put it another way…if you do then your american fords and gm’s must be total rubbish…”

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “How come these cars weren’t shared with other markets all along.”

    Because the “down under” market (NZ and AU) is its own little world. Having just spent six weeks down there, with the memories still fresh and painful, I would like to point out some very glaring differences:

    – Gasoline at $8 per gallon. Feeling dowright elated at the “bargain” price of “only” $7 per gallon. A pint (yes a pint) of regular non-synthetic motor oil for $3.50.

    – You can buy a brand new Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Renault, Peogeot, Citroen (because US style safety and emission regulations do not exist) and many other vehicles by the Japanese that aren’t available domestically (because actually, they are a pile of junk, including the Nissan Urvan and its brethren reviewed elsewhere on this site).

    – Road and driving conditions that would never be acceptable in the US. Imagine driving a Toyota Corolla on the main highways, and through the rear view mirrors see the passenger rear tire touch the center line while the driver side tire touches the fogline. With no guardrails or shoulder. Weaving in and out of gigantic potholes.

    – 60 mph speed limits. On the main highways. Including four laners with wide mediums.

    – Draconian Warranty of Fitness regulations that encourage legalized theft by mechanics. Oil changes for $125.

    – Gut wrenching levels of taxation, and sales taxes that border on deliberate sadistic cruelty. (which, on second thought isn’t that cruel: They are included in the hopelessly-inflated price of everything …. like the $27 whole chicken in the supermarket, or the $10 Big Mac I bought in Christchurch).

    – How about a new Toyota Corolla, out the door for only $25,000? Honest to gawd, saw such a thing in Nelson, NZ on the south island. Or a new Holden Monaro for a mere $45,000 (by comparison, the hotted out GTO US version sold for $30,000).

    Do you honestly think you would import a miserable two-stroke Suzuki Van? Or a fugly one-ton Land Cruiser/Rover with rear dual wheels? How about a pitiful Daihatsu that painfully struggles up very mild grades …. in first gear, only. Slower than a candied turd.

    Imagine the revelation …. that is not an overstatement – of returning to the US with its virtually-empty, glass-smooth freeways, setting the cruise at a leasurely 80mph.

    I have seen the down under auto market up close and personal, and I would rather ride my bicycle thank you very much.

  • avatar
    Rix

    I don’t know why this is a surprise… in my neck of California we have a Toyota assembly plant and the local Ford plant has been turned into an outlet mall. I saw a person I work with get into an American car today and it was a huge surprise…no more than one or two American cars in the lot among maybe fifty. Prius is the best selling car in my area. I would be surprised if domestics combined have the market share of Toyota here. If the rest of the country starts to look like my area, the domestics are toast.

  • avatar
    ttilley

    Rix wrote: “I don’t know why this is a surprise… in my neck of California we have a Toyota assembly plant and the local Ford plant has been turned into an outlet mall.”

    Fremont/Milpitas?

    If so then the Toyota plant is actually a Toyota/GM joint venture (e.g.: Matrix/Vibe). The Ford plant, on the other hand, really is…transformed.

    If not, then where else does Toyota manufacture in CA?

    The Prius does sell well. Apparently, used Pri…ii? with DMV hybrid stickers (allowing solo carpool lane use) sell _very_ well.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Paul Niedermeyer: That was written by an anonymous poster who gives no credentials and no idea as to why we should take his opinion regarding the Falcon and the Holden seriously.

    As I recall, both Top Gear and Automobile raved about the new Holden sedan. Which makes me doubt the rest of his post.

    Information on blueovalnews.com regarding the what is new with the just-released is more in line with what V6 posted.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    There is nothing wrong with Australian FOrds and Holdens. Actually, several that I saw were stunning. They just wouldn’t (and didn’t) sell very well here.

    Nor would Fiats, Alfas, Peugeots or Renaults. Those companies permanently screwed the pooch big time, with the Sheriff in hot pursuit when they hurredly lit out in the middle of the night. So regardless of the florid reviews and professed panting after unobtaneum Alfas on this site, you can trust Alfa to be smarter than that.

    After seeing tons of unsold new Alfas in dealer lots and watching them drive buy on many occassions, I was left with the abiding conviction that up close and in the flesh, the pent-up market for Alfas in America is exactly nothing.

    Would you honestly pay $50,000 for an unreliable, inferior-built Miata? Me neither.

    In New Zealand, I was constantly pestered for the minutest details about Corvettes and Mustangs and people swore up and down they would pay scalped-and-screwed-raw prices for them. I didn’t believe them for a second, but it was sure fun bullshittin’. They, like us, fantasize about the imagined perfectability of the magical unobtaneum.

    One night down under, in a remote coastal pub owned by the local miner’s union, the drunken football wogs couldn’t get enough Corvette stories until I got so tired of it I finally snuck away for the night on a furtive piss expedition.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    geeber: I put it up to show that there are other points of view. And undoubtedly, there are many polarising views about the Falcon, Commodore, or any car. Anyway, what else would you expect from the blueovalnews, as well as local Australian reviews? The Falcon undoubtedly has strengths and weaknesses, but it is an ageing platform and Ford has already announced that it will be replaced with a world-class competitive new RWD car within a few years. If it’s so great, how come people aren’t willing to spend their own money on it?

  • avatar
    James2

    Mercury has Jill Wagner. Ford Oz should hire the still stunning Rachel Ward, who coincidentally had a role in a remake of “On The Beach”.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    In defense of the Old Country, it does have problems, just in different ways that the US does. yes the taxes are rapacious, having a stiff income tax + a sales tax of 12% knocks an income around considerably. But of course we have a Government That Cares For Your Wellbeing (thanks for that.
    The NZ cops are not quite as strict on the 100kph as the Australians but will still zap you the $120 (welfare states don’t fund themselves. Just imagine the horror of finding the rest of the world not having US safety and emission control standards such as they are – and join the queue for 8 buck a Gallon gas when the Opec drops the US dollar for Euros.

    if one was to pay $27 for a chicken or $10 for a mac (why anyone would want a mac at any price is beyond me) then I would suggest somebody fucked up.
    The Warrant of Fitness is good idea. It still appalls me to see rusted out old crappers being driven round US roads. Lord only knows what happens in an accident.

    Stop whinging about the roads – yes they have potholes but no more than any Northern US city in Winter(Im looking at you Chicago)and just imagine, tight roads in the mountains!!!! and a lot of them are candidates for replacements for the Nurburgring (State Highway 3 is a favourite). If night driving feel free to hit as many possums (similar to the ROUS from the Princess Bride movie) that are on the road.
    But if you aren’t paying attention the roads will catch you out because many of them are blind, and the camber will lead you astray, the surface was built to withstand years of water being poured from the heavens on it. And look out for the wandering livestock (cattle, sheep, farmers) on country roads.

    And you will find that any NZ Toyota (can’t speak for Australia) is a miles better setup that the blah US version.
    The Falcon and the Commodore,(and I have owned both) would never be mistaken for a German car at the limit but are still acceptable cars. The cooking versions are set up for a cushy ride, the SS and XR6/8 sharpen up nicely, much better than a Mustang. No M5 of course but still lots of fun.

    And heres some sales figures if anybody was interested. From http://www.fcai.com.au
    Top Australian Brands December 2007 & Total For 2007

    Brand – Month – Year – Month % – Year % – Month Place – 2007 Place
    1. Toyota – 20,613 – 236,647 – 23.9 – 22.5 – 1st – 1st
    2. Holden – 10,464 – 146,680 – 12.1 – 14.0 – 2nd – 2nd
    3. Ford – 8,977 – 108,071 – 10.4 – 10.3 – 3rd – 3rd
    4. Mazda – 6,442 – 77,734 – 7.5 – 7.4 – 4th – 4th
    5. Mitsubishi – 5,326 – 65,397 – 6.2 – 6.2 – 5th – 5th
    6. Hyundai – 4,762 – 50,007 – 5.5 – 4.8 – 6th – 8th
    7. Nissan – 4,704 – 60,015 – 5.5 – 5.7 – 7th – 7th
    8. Honda – 4,605 – 60,529 – 5.3 – 5.8 – 8th – 6th
    9. Subaru – 3,077 – 38,445 – 3.6 – 3.7 – 9th – 9th
    10. Volkswagen – 2,360 – 27,400 – 2.7 – 2.6 – 10th – 10th

    11. Mercedes – 1,933 – 20,230 – 2.2 – 1.9 – 11th – 11th
    12. Kia – 1,841 – 20,985 – 2.1 – 2.0 – 12th – 12th
    13. Suzuki – 1,759 – 21,575 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 13th – 13th
    14. BMW – 1,488 – 17,197 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 14th – 14th
    15. Peugeot – 759 – 8,807 – 0.9 – 0.8 – 15th – 15th
    16. Lexus – 509 – 8,199 – 0.6 – 0.8 – 17th – 16th
    17. Jeep – 474 – 5,744 – 0.5 – 0.5 – 18th – 17th
    18. Volvo – 374 – 4,851 – 0.4 – 0.5 – ? – 19th
    19. Citroen – 351 – 3,803 – 0.4 – 0.4 – ? – 20th
    20. Audi – 282 – 7,225 – 0.3 – 0.7 – 16th – 18th

    21. Renault – 273 – 2,909 – 0.3 – 0.3 – ? – 23rd
    22. Land Rover – 232 – 3,708 – 0.3 – 0.4 – ? – 21st
    23. Dodge – 206 – 2,082 – 0.2 – 0.2 – ? – 26th
    24. MINI – 205 – 2,269 – 0.2 – 0.2 – ? – 25th
    25. Chrysler – 185 – 3,059 – 0.2 – 0.3 – ? – 22nd
    26. Alfa Romeo – 175 – 1,866 – 0.2 – 0.2 – ? 27th
    27. Proton – 147 – 2,336 – 0.2 – 0.2 – ? – 24th
    28. Saab – 126 – 1,862 – 0.1 – 0.2 – ? – 28th

    Top Australian Vehicles December 2007 & Total For 2007

    Vehicle – Month – 2007 Total – 2007 Place
    1. Toyota Corolla – 47,792
    2. Holden Commodore – 3,653 – 57,307
    3. Toyota Hilux Ute – 3,256 – 42,009
    4. Ford Falcon – 3,122
    5. Toyota Camry – 2,685
    6. Mazda 3 – 2,584
    7. Toyota Yaris – 2,352
    8. Toyota Aurion – 1,751
    9. Holden Commodore Ute – 1,535
    10. Hyundai Getz – 1,499

    11. Honda Civic – 1,448
    12. Mitsubishi Lancer – 1,350
    13. Toyota Land Cruiser SUV – 1,296
    14. Ford Territory SUV – 1,284
    15. Toyota Rav4 SUV – 1,279
    16. Ford Focus – 1,269
    17. Mitsubishi Tirton Ute – 1,258
    18. Holden Astra – 1,220
    19. Mazda 2 – 1,201
    20. Nissan Navara Ute – 1,163

    21. Holden Rodeo Ute – 1,131
    22. Nissan Tiida – 1,116
    23. Subaru Forester SUV – 1,110
    24. Mazda 6 – 1,061
    25. Honda Jazz – 1,051
    26. Ford Falcon Ute – 1,027
    27. Ford Ranger Ute – 984
    28. Toyota Prado SUV – 979
    29. Suzuki Swift – 961
    30. Holden Barina – 948

    Brand – Month – 2007 Total – 2007 Place
    1. Toyota – 1826 – 20,016 – 1st
    2. Ford – 890 – 13,652 – 2nd
    3. Holden – 739 – 11,581 – 3rd
    4. Mitsubishi – 605 – 6601 – 5th
    5. Mazda – 488 – 6600 – 6th
    6. Honda – 460 – 6247 – 7th
    7. Suzuki – 375 – 4453 – 9th
    8. Nissan – 363 – 6724 – 4th
    9. Hyundai – ? – 4480 – 8th
    10. Subaru – 151 – 2033 – 12th
    11= Volkswagen – 114 – 2388 – 11th
    11= Daihatsu – 114 – 1576 – 13th
    13. Kia – 107 – 2485 -10th
    14. Mercedes – 80 – 1432 – 14th
    15. Audi – 72 – 1308 – 15th

    Top New Zealand Vehicles December 2007 & Total For 2007 http://www.mia.org.nz

    Vehicle – Month – 2007 Total – 2007 Place
    1. Toyota Corolla – 653 – 5081 – 2nd
    2. Holden Commodore – 353 – 6080 – 1st
    3. Suzuki Swift – 219 – 2456 -4th
    4. Honda Jazz – 207 – 1823 – 9th
    5. Ford Falcon – 200 – 3198 – 3rd
    6. Mitsubishi Outlander – 187 – 1657 – 10th
    7. Mitsubishi Lancer – 178 – ? – ?
    8. Mazda 6 – 165 – 2039 – 7th
    9. Toyota Camry – 164 – 2190 – 6th
    10. Ford Mondeo – 142 – 1236 – 15th
    11. Toyota Yaris – 109 – 1606 – 12th
    12. Ford Focus – 102 – 2264 – 5th
    13. Ford Territory – 101 – 1541 – 13th
    14= Mazda 3 – 100 – 1880 – 8th
    14= Toyota Aurion – 100 – ? – ?

    Probably full of shit being industry organizations but whatever

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    because, Paul, some people get the car included in the package as part of their salary. Reduces the tax persons income tax and it can be written off as business expense for the company, and the government turns a blind eye because it keeps union members employed (especially if the Government is Labour) Thats In Australia.
    In New Zealand, a fringe benefit tax on companies discourages that and so people buy their own. For jan

    Vehicle – Month
    1. Toyota Corolla – 795
    2. Holden Commodore – 563
    3. Ford Falcon – 295
    4. Suzuki Swift – 270
    5. Toyota Camry – 248
    6. Suzuki SX4 – 223
    7. Mitsubishi Lancer – 193
    8. Mazda 2- 173
    9. Ford Focus – 165
    10. Mazda 3- 161
    11. Ford Mondeo – 153
    12. Honda Civic – 152
    13. Toyota Aurion – 144
    14= Honda Jazz – 142
    14= Mazda 6 – 142

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    Because, Paul, some people get a car as part of their salary – reduces the income tax, car gets writen off as business expense, govt turns blind eye cause employs union people. Thats in Australia, NZ
    has tax discouraging that.

    NZ jan sales figures up 11% on 07 with Commodore battling Corolla with old Falcon in third

    For the record, I owned Falcon XR6 in NZ, pretty good IMHO. Better with modifications. Hard on tyres though.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    Kudos for referencing one of the best, if bleakest movies I’ve watched recently (I missed the original release by about twenty years).

    It’s an appropriate analogy for the state of the D3.

  • avatar
    HPE

    Hi all. Long-time listener, first-time caller. Prompted to make an appearance because I think I can add something to this particular debate, having been a long-time observer of the Australian industry and lived amongst it for my entire life. Let me make it plain from the start that I’m no fan of the Big Two. But I do feel compelled to correct a misrepresentation of the situation when I see it, and I saw a few in this piece.

    First of all, as others have noted, it is simply not true that the new Falcon’s platform is either old or tired. Ford says that the new Falcon is 90 per cent new. Fundamentally, the FG’s platform is heavily re-engineered BF, including a new-revised double wishbone front end. BA/BF dates back to the AU Falcon of 1998, and if you want to trace the family history you can draw a line all the way back to the 1988 EA. But you’ll be a long time finding any correlations. AU was a big-budget rework, so a line in the sand is effectively drawn there. Then, due to the fact that the AU Falcon bombed, Ford spent a few hundred million on a very substantial mid-life facelift back in 2002, including re-engineering the rear half of the body to accomodate a sophisticated multilink rear. The Jag XF rides on a similarly-aged platform. I haven’t seen much, if any, criticism of it on this basis. (Oh, and the new global RWD platform? It’s not inconceivable that FG could provide the basis – which would make a lot of sense, but obviously that doesn’t come into it.)

    To my mind, the importance of this update cannot be overestimated. For a long time, backed by such monstrosities as the Torana six and the Cortina six, Australian cars have been seen as pretty crude devices. To a certain point this view held water; but it held less after the debut of the VT Commodore in 1997, and a lot less after BA. FG has new steering and front suspension (an improved double-wishbone arrangement, borrowed from the Territory), but retains the BA/BF rear end. Why not? With that model change, Falcon finally turned from a pretty crude device (including a live rear axle) into a genuinely sophisticated piece of engineering. Oh, and the brand-new RWD world-class platform? Seems it mightn’t be so new after all. The fact is, unless a platform actually compromises a vehicle’s spaciousness or dynamics, its age (however it’s calculated) is not relevant. In the Falcon’s case, it doesn’t, and it isn’t. Let’s move on.

    The engineering integrity of contemporary big Australian cars is deeper than a lot of people think. Upper model Falcons have as standard ZF’s acclaimed six-speed autobox, as found on various prestige German marques – from memory this is optional on all but the lowest models, with a five-speed autobox filling the gaps. Similarly, the basics of the Falcon’s inline six are pretty ancient, but not so as you’d know. The basic bore/stroke ratio has long been pretty much ideal for efficient combustion, and various technological improvements over the years (including refinements like a twin-cam four-valve head, dual continuously variable valve timing and exhaust gas recirculation) have kept it highly competitive – especially the turbo, which produces massive numbers, goes like stink and is a world-class engine by any standard. I for one think it’s a significant loss that Ford has decided to replace it with the Duratec V6 from 2009 onwards. Later on in BA’s run they also introduced ZF’s six-speed automatic, as found on various European prestige cars with names beginning BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Maserati, as standard on high-spec models and optional on all but the most basic models (which with FG get a new five-speed autobox).

    Once upon a time, it was true that Australian-made cars were not exactly the last word in sophistication. That started to change in 1997 with the VT Commodore and the 2002 BA Falcon cemented that notion. Australian cars nowadays are not just better in absolute terms than they have ever been, they are far closer to the world’s best than they have ever been – and the gap is closing all the time. That is not only my opinion, that is the outcome of any even remotely objective analysis. Since you ask, in terms of handling and ride, I happen to think that the Falcon would compare favourably with any similarly-sized premium car from around the world, irrespective of price difference. A loaded Falcon here is around 40 grand; a truly basic 5-Series, with a 2.0 diesel, kicks off at neatly double that.

    There are a variety of reasons why Falcon and Commodore sales are falling, few of which have to do with the intrinsic quality of the cars themselves. Firstly, the rise of novated leasing. In the past, people drove a basic Commodore or Falcon because that’s what they were told to drive by their managers. Nowadays, people tend to get an upper-spend limit and far more choice in their company cars. A Falcon or a Commodore – or for that matter a Camry or Aurion – isn’t seen as having the necessary cred in the carpark, against, say, a shiny imported Euro. The article you reference backs my point: “Large cars made up 53.6 per cent of fleet car sales in 2002, while this year the figure has slipped to 40.6 per cent.”

    Coupled with this is a certain ‘image problem’ which has (IMHO at least) little to do with reality, but is a reality in itself nevertheless. Falcons and Commodores, in addition to being seen as ‘fleet’ or ‘sales rep’ cars, are regarded by some of the trendier parts about town as a bit pleb, a bit lower-class. There is even a body of opinion which regards them as (whisper it) ‘bogan’ vehicles. Or in Americanese, wagons for hicks. I don’t necessarily think this is fair or accurate – but it’s just how it is.

    You have also quoted some figures out of their proper context. It’s been common knowledge within the industry for years that Falcon and Commodore sales are heavily fleet-biased – as indeed are sales of all Australian-made cars nowadays. This is why novated leasing has hit the figures so hard. Falcon and Commodore sales have always been ‘propped up’ by fleet sales – as indeed are those of the Camry and, until recently, Mitsubishi’s 380 (slightly revised Galant with a locally-developed 3.8 V6). The closure of Mitsubishi’s South Australian factory has been on the cards for years and is a major story in itself; suffice to say that an industry insider told me, exactly a year after the 380’s launch, that the number of private sales it was generating per month was down to two digits. And began with a 3. The fact is, Falcon and Commodore long dominated the sales charts and if Ford and Holden did abandon the segment altogether before now, you’d have been all over them like a rash pointing to short-sightedness or timidity.

    Not that all of Ford and GM-H’s problems are outside their own making. Back in the late 1980s, both launched all-new versions of the Commodore and Falcon – the VN and EA respectively. Both were underdeveloped (the Falcon in particular); early models of both suffered from very poor quality; both were put right soon enough, but the damage to reputations was done. In fairness it must be noted that Holden especially also suffered a raft of quality glitches with VT and with some early VEs. But as you guys well know, bad reputations tend to stick.

    Fuel costs are rising all the time. Petrol is still cheap here compared to Europe, but in the Australian context, A$1.50 is significantly higher than we have been used to. That naturally has an impact on whether people want to spend money on a big family car powered by a 3.6- or 4-litre six. This despite the fact that around 10L/100km (projected consumption of the new Falcon) is pretty good going for any car with a 4-litre petrol six.

    It is, moreover, an untruth that Ford and Holden “never developed smaller cars”. During the ’79 oil shock, GM-H very nearly went to the wall doing exactly that. Guess what – the J-Car made it downunder, badged Camira. The basics were good too – contemporaneous reports cited fine handling and a willing 1.6 (Family II) engine. Unfortunately this was all undone by dismal quality – but I expect you can probably guess the rest so I won’t bore you with the details. Long version short, the Camira only succeeded in cannibalising Commodore sales and Holden was stuck with the cost of building two lines for the sales of one.

    Ford didn’t screw up like that; in fact it built its own version of the Mazda 323, badged Laser, downunder for a good decade and a half. Quite successful, as I recall. Class-leading sales successful for a decent proportion of its life, in fact. In the mid-1990s they shuttered local production as they couldn’t make the sums work. Not that they were alone – Toyota closed local Corolla production in the late 1990s too, as did Nissan with its Pulsar (actually they closed up shop altogether in 1992 after losing about a billion dollars, but that’s another, excruciating, tale altogether). Regardless, it’s not as though Ford is completely blind to market realities – it’s contracted to build the Focus here from 2011.

    The Australian car industry has a lot of challenges in the years ahead, but your comparison with the U.S. landscape is, with respect, misguided. For one thing, the locals have something approaching accountable management and a degree of competence. For another, they’re aware of the problems and are actually trying to do something about them.

    Both Ford Australia and GM-H have come perilously close to the brink before, on more than one occasion. They mightn’t succeed in staving off the Grim Reaper this time, but it’s a bit early to be closing the book on them just yet. At least they’re having a go at ensuring a viable future for themselves. Which, on the face of it, is a lot more than GM and Chryslerbus have any intention of doing over your end.

  • avatar
    HPE

    Apologies for the slight repetition in that last post – the site timed out after logging such a long post (lesson learned there) and I started to re-type it, only to find that it had gone through. A hasty edit and I ended up doubling up some bits and pieces. Oops.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    1. “Meanwhile, GM and Ford import all their products from low-wage countries except for large sedans” – Ford Australia import the Fiesta from Germany and the Mondeo from Belgium. The Focus comes from South Africa and Germany.

    2. “And yet, Holden and Ford still claim bragging rights to the number one (Commodore) and number two (Falcon) selling cars in the land of Oz.” – Falcon hasn’t been, or claimed to be number two for some years now. and as it happens Corolla is number one.

    3. “Since Chrysler withdrew, GM’s Holden and Ford-AU’s market share has fallen even more precipitously than their American parents’.” – Had nothing to do with Chrysler’s withdrawal. It has everything to do with tariff reduction and fuel prices. The trend really only started in the last 10 years.

    4. “Ford has only just started building the Focus locally.” – No it hasn’t. Utter twaddle! The Focus will be built in Broadmeadows from 2010.

    5. “Ford’s restyled Falcon has just been revealed, but it’s riding on a tired old platform that wouldn’t cut it beyond its loyal but rapidly shrinking fan base (think Crown Vic).” – Tired? In what way – what do you actually mean? The New Falcon shares some underbody components namely the front floor and firewall pressings. Additionally the front aprons and shotguns are similar to the Territory. The rear suspension is an update, but is a pretty sophisticated double wishbone device in anycase. The front suspension is a light weight alloy set-up. The Front end structure is a leightweight plastic moulding like the Mazda 6.

    6. “Thankfully, Ford has just announced the final solution to the geriatric twosome: a clean-sheet next-generation RWD platform to be developed in Australia.” – When did they announce this? Who announced it? Where’s the press release?

    7. “No wonder GM and Ford are throwing development dollars for rear wheel-drive (RWD) cars to the Aussies. Without the imported bucks, they might soon be toast.” – This doesn’t make sense! Why would they be financing an operation with the sole aim of just keeping it afloat? There must be some financial advantage of designing a car in Australia.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    I missed this one…”The Aussie Big Two never developed smaller cars, and didn’t build a single four cylinder car for… just about forever.”

    – 2001 when Holden last built the Vectra in Australia, is hardly “forever”.

  • avatar

    Rix: …in my neck of California… I would be surprised if domestics combined have the market share of Toyota here. If the rest of the country starts to look like my area, the domestics are toast.

    I’m on the East Coast: The last time I heard a prediction regarding auto trends come out of California, it was dead on.

    Years ago, when I mentioned that CA tends to be a trendsetter in the U.S. (generally speaking), a guy from CA replied: “Well, if that’s true, everyone in CA are driving huge SUVs, so expect to see those everywhere.”

    We know that prediction turned out. So…

    If the rest of the country starts to look like my area, the domestics are toast.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    Interesting piece of trivia…One of the drivers racing in the ‘On the Beach’ film is in fact Neville Shute in his XK140.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    SOT, On the Beach is Shute’s best known work. A much cheerier one is the Trusty from the Toolroom.

  • avatar
    jmack91z28

    Ahh who cares about california, they are a different country anyways

  • avatar
    geeber

    Paul Niedermeyer: Anyway, what else would you expect from the blueovalnews, as well as local Australian reviews?

    Many of the posters on blueovalnews.com are engineers who back up their contentions (in this case, that the Falcon platform is not a mildly reworked “carryover” platform) with solid analysis and examples. Yes, there is lots of blue-oval cheerleading, but once you get past that, there is good information on the site.

    Also, Top Gear and Automobile are written and published in Great Britain and the U.S., respectively, so they are not part of the Australian media.

    Paul Niedermeyer: If it’s so great, how come people aren’t willing to spend their own money on it?

    Fleet sales do not have the same meaning in Australia (and Europe) that they do in the U.S.

    Stiff taxes and registration fees shape vehicle choices. In Australia and Europe, a car is a perk given to employees as a way of dodging high income taxes. It is my understanding that these sales are still counted as fleet sales.

    In the U.S., where tax laws and government policies have not been written to limit consumer choice to nearly the same degree, people are more likely to buy what they want with their own money, hence the stigma attached to any vehicle that survives largely on the basis of fleet sales.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “and just imagine, tight roads in the mountains!!!!”

    With motorhomes’ rear dual wheels over the center line comin’ atcha. Driven by the ubiquitous horrifyingly-ugly German tourists. Maybe it was just driving on the right side that freaked me out the most. And how bout those one-lane bridges on the main highways, with a railroad track running right down the middle, for crissakes!

    “And you will find that any NZ Toyota (can’t speak for Australia) is a miles better setup that the blah US version.”

    Actually, I bought a Toyota Corona for my college stepson upon lighting in Christchurch. It was every bit as boring as the US versions. Like listening to a Dutch Reformed sermon on auto-loop. Good reliable cheap car though. But it was painful, like passing a great big huge kidney stone, when it cost an even $100 to fill it up at Franz Joseph Glacier. Ouch!

    “It still appalls me to see rusted out old crappers being driven round US roads.”

    Until you understand that our rednecks (who were taught to weld when they were 5, and were born with a oil filter wrench in their mouth), in conjunction with Walmart’s ultra-cheap automotive section, works damned miracles.

    Don’t get me wrong, NZ and AU are absolutely stunningly gorgeous and the people are fantastic …. well, I married one after all. Who insisted on buying a new Pontiac GTO notwithstanding the blistering reviews it got on this page, and now I love it too.

    Alfa sold less than 2,000 cars the whole year. That’s about what I would have suspected.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the parallels between the Aussie car biz and Detroit, Paul. Always a pleasure to hear your perspective.

    Whether the Ford Falcon is new or old, it doesn’t really matter: Dearborn screwed up BIG TIME by choosing the D3 Volvo over this platform for Stateside consumption.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Thanks for the additional comments, clarifications and some corrections.

    Nicodemus: According to the FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries), in 2007 the Commodore sold 57,307 (including fleets) and the Corolla sold 47,792.

    Yes, the Focus starts production in 2010.

    GoAuto-News published a story on 1/10/08 regarding the all-new next gen RWD Ford platform to be developed in Australia.

    Regarding the controversy about Holden and Ford small cars, I emphasized the “lack of development” of small cars; yes they both built corporate small cars in Australia in the past.

    Again, the Falcon (and Commodore) undoubtedly have their charms, but the gist of my story is that the market has strongly turned away from them, leaving GM and Ford with shrinking market share.

  • avatar
    carguy

    While Aussie cars may look cool they also suffer from the same reliability problems that their American counterparts do – probably even more so. All the Falcon and Commodore that I can recall have had reliability bugs from cradle to grave. As for the short lived Vectra, it was the worst of all. I owned one of these and it spent half its life at the dealer getting repaired. Unfortunately Australia does not have lemon laws.

  • avatar
    greystone

    Whose fault it is? Does Carlos Ghosn Dream of Electric Sheep? By Brock Yates 2/4/2008 – correctly pointing Motown’s over reliance in SUV and large luxury cars – I can only remember when the Japanese cars landing in our shores.

    Motown’s claimed ‘height issue’ – we are big Americans, we have huge frames over 6 feet tall, thus we cannot fit comfortably in those tiny bathtubs shame on those analyst they should be fired.

    Motown’s claimed ‘big is better’ – god bless my parents, they still love their 72 Ford Galaxie 500 country sedan station wagon – especially my dad believes there is a lot of steel in front and the back to protect him – in case of accident even though we try hard to convince him there is better technology now – he has accepted the 2005 Crown Victoria but he prefer to ride the station wagon even going to the super market – but he complains the parking spots at supermarket are tiny – we have a lot of memories in that car – the summer trips and I think my father does not want to let go – even though the frequent and numerous maintenance costs and repair costs always punch a hole in our wallets – so big is not better those analyst were and are wrong.

    Motown’s inability to reel in soccer mom’s, and build value in their products, those analyst incapable to foresee the economies of the rest of world catching up to us and some passing us in addition those analyst could not forecast the increase of gas prices from $8 to over $100 barrel of oil and the fluctuating of our currency those analyst do not deserve salaries.

    Not everyone child is Lebron James, so hummer & escalade will not do well in the future – I ask my student’s which cars they see themselves driving in 2030 – 8 out of 10 say lexus/infiniti/bmw/Mercedes and the remaining two one picks mustang and the other corvette it is clear Motown has lost the domestic market let alone down and under.

  • avatar
    Kiwi_Mark_in_Aussie

    V6: Here’s another perspective from a down under TTAC comentator (Kiwi_Mark_in_Aussie) on the new Falcon release a couple of days ago (regarding importing it to the US):

    “if you have any luck – no…the ford falcon (like the holden commodore) is a piece of shit…it corners much the same way a sea cow does…has a crap ride…piss poor build quality…and should only be inflicted on those whom you hate (and that goes for the decidly average commodore as well)…

    you do not want this…

    or put it another way…if you do then your american fords and gm’s must be total rubbish…”

    To be fair I have not driven the latest commodore or falcon – but they would require considerable improvement in ride and handling to approach something I would call good. The previous generations of both have been extremely poor in this area for so many versions.

    geeber :
    February 19th, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    “Paul Niedermeyer: That was written by an anonymous poster who gives no credentials and no idea as to why we should take his opinion regarding the Falcon and the Holden seriously.

    As I recall, both Top Gear and Automobile raved about the new Holden sedan. Which makes me doubt the rest of his post.

    Information on blueovalnews.com regarding the what is new with the just-released is more in line with what V6 posted.”

    I have had the misfortune to have had to drive the previous versions of both as my company car…they are poor…poor in ride….poor in handling…poor in appointments (air con/climate etc etc) and poor in ergonomics…

    1. All they raved about was the power. They have never said anything postive about the ride or handling.

    2. In fact in one show they stated the European Monaro equivalent was so much fun precisely because it didnt handle well…i.e. it was very good if you wanted to go “drifting”…this to my mind does not indicate a safe handling car for the general public…

    The Top Gear show should not be used to establish sensible opinions of motor vehicles…its primary purpose is too entertain us petrol heads with very politcally incorrect pro car propoganda and to allow its presenters to drive cars fast…I would not base my buying choices on anything they say on that show…the magazine maybe…but not the TV show.

    And are you suggesting we should take seriously an Australian motoring magazine…they are no different to the motoring magazines of the US…i.e. propoganda outlets for the domestic manufacturers…

    But you are quite correct – it is only my opinion on these two vehicles…if you or anyone else wants to buy one because you think they are great…then great…beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that…I dont care one way or the other what anyone else spends their own money on…I myself will stick with the Japanese for my everyday cars and European (German at this time) for my weekend fun.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    “To be fair I have not driven the latest commodore or falcon – but they would require considerable improvement in ride and handling to approach something I would call good. The previous generations of both have been extremely poor in this area for so many versions.”

    I have driven both these vehicles. The ride and handling of the new Falcon is really quite a revelation.

  • avatar
    grinchsmate

    i have waited a long time for this very article. firsts things firdt, the last figures i saw for car sales in west aus, my state: 1 corolla 2 commodore 3 hilux 4 falcon 5 200 landcruiser when you take away the corrola and realise that most of the hiluxs come with 200kw 6 then you see that wwe really do have it good. i would also like to say that as an 18 year old i have just bought my first car, 03 commodore for 11k. i realsie that my idea of a drivers car is more about power and a happy back end than the poise and handling i feel driving my parents BMW but when all you do is the highway cruising or cutting up you dont want a twitchy little car. and if you factor in the nice rear legroom the large boot and the very respectable consumptin 11l/100ks what more do you want. i can overtake several roadtrains (prime mover with three trailers) in one go and unlike a wrx i dont get pulled over by every cop i meet. the one problem is i cant stop myself from shredding the rear tires. the seat is the only one apart from my handmedown 88 hilux that i can travell over 100ks in without needing a chiropracter and to top it all off it doesnt look like a washing machine as most toyotas tend to. and i will point out that this is the bsoluste base executive model with the four speed auto. one of my stupid rich friends has a GTS and that thing is incedible, a little plasticy on the inside, but the best drive i have ever had, much better than any merc or bmw, although ive never driven an s or m

  • avatar
    jurisb

    Australia is just a paradigm of symptoms.it`s not a matter of `if`, it`s a matter of when. Don`t you think,people that`s it`s a time to wake up, before last factory in USA is shut down and a new president warmonger wastes your last dollars? Wake the hell up for freedom march! Damn you who can hear ,but are deaf, the one`s that can see, but are blind!Damn you everyone who clapped hands, when the …said for staying another 100 years inIraq.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Kiwi_Mark_in_Aussie: 1. All they raved about was the power. They have never said anything postive about the ride or handling.

    I read the magazine Top Gear. I do not watch the show (don’t have the time). That is where I read the review of the Holden.

    You wrote this later in the post: I would not base my buying choices on anything they say on that show…the magazine maybe…but not the TV show. (emphasis added) That is straight from your computer…

    Kiwi_Mark_in_Aussie: 2. In fact in one show they stated the European Monaro equivalent was so much fun precisely because it didnt handle well…i.e. it was very good if you wanted to go “drifting”…this to my mind does not indicate a safe handling car for the general public…

    The fact that a vehicle can be deliberately provoked into “drifting” does not mean it is not a “safe handling” car.

    Kiwi_Mark_in_Aussie: And are you suggesting we should take seriously an Australian motoring magazine…they are no different to the motoring magazines of the US…i.e. propoganda outlets for the domestic manufacturers…

    I referred to Automobile, which, as I said in my previous post, is an American magazine written and published in the United States.

    I’ll take the magazine’s word for it over an anonymous interenet poster, especially one with an admitted bias in favor of German and Japanese cars. They may be different from a Commodore or Falcon, but “different” is not synonomous with “better” in this case.

    jurisb: Don`t you think,people that`s it`s a time to wake up, before last factory in USA is shut down and a new president warmonger wastes your last dollars?

    Considering that the Japanese, Koreans and Germans have opened factories within the U.S. to produce vehicles; and that the Japanese are expanding their engineering and design presence here; and that VW is considering a new U.S. assembly plant, it appears as though it will be quite a while before the “last American factory” shuts down.

  • avatar
    EJ_San_Fran

    You don’t even have to look so far.
    Welcome to California, where Toyota has 28% market share, more than GM and Ford combined.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    Geeber-One day you might take your young son outside a park for a walk. You will raise your hand like Lenin pointing to the chimneys and hangars of factories. And you will proudly say, see son, this is a Japanese factory, they make cars we drive. Turn around son! This is another factory, here germans stamp parts for our minivans, and here is another one ( yes ,yes right behind there), here, koreans stamp tv sets , the ones we use for watching Family Guy or those James Bond movies- buy Another day. And your son might ask: ` but dad, aren`t we Americans?
    What do we make? And you will sob back…..nothing. you might end up in a generation of your sons and daughters, whose dreams are of becoming rap singers, managers and movie stars or brokers, while having grown up they will end up either overdosed on streets or picking up paychecks from their korean or japanese masters working for 12 bucks an hour and producing profits directly transferable to the country of a rising star. just guessing.

  • avatar
    geeber

    jurisb: Geeber-One day you might take your young son outside a park for a walk. You will raise your hand like Lenin pointing to the chimneys and hangars of factories. And you will proudly say, see son, this is a Japanese factory, they make cars we drive.

    And if the Japanese make those cars in America…so what? It proves that America is still a good place to manufacture vehicles.

    As I’ve explained before, Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai are expanding their design, engineering and production facilities in the U.S. They are becoming in the U.S. what GM and Ford are now in Europe – a wholly owned subsidiary of a larger multinational corporation that designs, engineers and manufactures vehicles for that particular market.

    When I was in Europe, I didn’t hear people calling Opel/Vauxhall or Ford of Europe factories “American” factories.

    Are you also aware that VW is looking at once again assembling vehicles in the U.S.?

    jurisb: Turn around son! This is another factory, here germans stamp parts for our minivans, and here is another one ( yes ,yes right behind there), here, koreans stamp tv sets , the ones we use for watching Family Guy or those James Bond movies- buy Another day. And your son might ask: ` but dad, aren`t we Americans?

    Uh, you’ve apparently missed one of the news stories that was posted on this site…Chrysler is making an ENTIRE minivan for VW.

    VW will be selling a rebadged Dodge Caravan as the VW Routan.

    jurisb: What do we make? And you will sob back…..nothing.

    I didn’t realize that locomotives, airplanes, heavy equipment, vehicles (even if some of them do sport badges from Japanese and Korean companies), software, high-tech military equipment, pharmaceuticals and high-tech medical equipment constitute “nothing.”

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    And why can;t our industrialists build things that their citizens want???

    Why must the homegrown industrialists refuse to acknowledge that people want clever gadgets, efficient cars in addition to the trucks and muscle cars, and that people want to be proud of the things they buy rather than just making excuses for why they didn’t buy something really good.

    I’m a kid of the 1980s. The Japanese kicked butt with the gadgets, stereos, and TVs. Then they kicked butt with their cars building cars that came with sunroofs, a/c and 5 speed speed trannys. Toyotas came with AM/FM stereo cassettes while Ford was charging extra for ashtrays, cigarette lighters and still calling the rare 5th gear overdrive. Honda was selling cars with ABS and fuel injection while GM was putting badges on their cars bragging about these features 5 years after the Asians had made these features standard.

    Zenith, Maganavox, and RCA didn’t even register on my and my friends’ radars. We wanted those tiny Sony gadgets and those Pioneer rack stereos. Heck I’ve still got alot of my 1980s Asian gadgets and they still work.

    It seems to me that the imports continue to supply the early adopters with new gadgets while still serving up quality. Detroit and other domestic manufacturers continue to play catch-up. See Hybrids.

    I wonder why this is. Could it be b/c the Japanese generally stay with one employer for so long while the American counterparts are moving around all the time looking for better employment opportunities? I don’t know really. Maybe we Americans get too comfortable in our jobs and our innivation drops while other cultures remain very motivated to perform professionally due to the fact that there are such long lines of people ready to step up and take their jobs (crowded cities and cultures)…

    What do you think?

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    Anyone every heard of a Japanese or Korean union striking?

  • avatar
    geeber

    The South Korean auto unions are fairly militant, from what I’ve read, and will not hesitate to go out on strike.

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