Holden’s Elizabeth plant in South Australia nearly had a new tenant in the form of Ethan Automotive, until the new Australian carmaker decided to position itself in neighbouring Edinburgh instead.
Ethan Automotive is an Australian company with plans to design and build its own all-electric, hybrid and petrol-powered cars, utilising local suppliers and expertise.
The company expects to begin production in 2018, which will fit with Holden’s exit plans (the Elizabeth plant to close by the end of 2017) and perhaps provide job opportunities to some of Holden’s displaced staff.
The company's ambitious plans include a staff roster of over 300 at its production facility, along with a further 70 employees working in its design and administration offices.
Those 70 are due to be installed in their positions by the end of this year.
Now, Ethan Automotive has announced that one of the key positions has been filled with the appointment of Matthew Newey as Ethan's new Chief Operating Officer.
“[Mr Newey] has established operational facilities and associated global supply chains on behalf of first-tier companies to supply leading vehicle manufacturers including GM, Ford, Land Rover, Jaguar and Chery Motors,” Mr Fenn said.
“This expertise will be invaluable for Ethan Automotive as we move forward with our program to produce a range of Australian built cars in Adelaide’s north by 2018 - just as Holden packs their Elizabeth factory up.”
Mr Fenn said Newey’s appointment sends a message to potential suppliers and government that Ethan Automotive’s plans “are now live”.
Newey’s first job will be to tie up supply contracts to ensure production of prototypes and the carmaker’s first models can progress as planned.
Ethan’s first and as-yet unnamed model will feature rear-wheel-drive and be sold direct to the public, with the aim of keeping prices down by cutting out dealers and other overheads.
The company plans to build 12,000 cars in 2018, rising to 50,000 by 2023.
Ethan won’t be the only carmaker flying the flag for Australia post-2017, with the likes of bespoke sports car builders Nota, Bolwell (kind-of) and Elfin still in the fold.
Pictured top of article: BMW production in Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA.