Mike Stevens | Mar 19, 2009

Australia’s Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has launched a scathing retaliation against claims that taxpayer subsidies could fail to save Holden from going under.

The Centre for Independent Studies claims that Holden would be liquidated if General Motors were to sell off its global brands and file for insolvency. The report also referred to the Green Car Innovation Fund as "old-fashioned protectionism hiding behind a green smokescreen”.

2007 Holden VE Ute Range

FCAI chief executive, Andrew McKellar, has shot back, claiming the report is “plain wrong". McKellar cited the restructuring plan submitted to the US treasury last month, in which GM described Holden as a viable option.

"(GM) sees a long-term, viable future for Holden... That's an important vote of confidence," he said.

The research paper claims that even with the assistance of the $6.2 billion Green Car Innovation Fund, to be released over the next decade, Australia’s auto industry is facing “existential difficulties". Research fellow Oliver Hartwich said, "The plan did not make sense when it was launched and makes even less sense now."

McKellar however remains optimistic, explaining that the coming four-cylinder Holden Cruze and hybrid Toyota Camry would not be possible without their $1.3 billion share of the Green Car Innovation fund. "It attracts innovation into Australia and facilitates innovation in new technologies," Mr McKellar said.

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