Toyota Announces Redundancies At Altona Manufacturing Plant Photo:
TMR Team | Oct, 15 2013 | 8 Comments

Toyota Australia has confirmed today it will offer up to 100 voluntary redundancies at its Altona manufacturing plant, where it currently employs 2500 people.

The announcement follows redundancies made at the plant in recent times: around 350 last year, and more than 400 early in 2013.

The news also comes just days after Toyota celebrated its two-millionth locally built car for the Australian market, and two months since announcing a $123 million investment in Australian manufacturing.

The carmaker said the decision is a response to reduced export orders, which account for around 70 percent of its Australian manufacturing operations.

The company now expects to build around 104,000 Camry, Camry Hybrid and Aurion cars this year, marking a fall from 470 to 431 each day.

In a statement today, Toyota Australia said the decrease in production volume is aligned with market demand that has made the company's current workforce size unsustainable.

President and CEO Max Yasuda said it was a difficult decision to make, but it is vital if the company wants to move towards global competiveness.

"Our employees are our greatest asset, so it is with extreme sadness that we have to adjust our workforce," Mr Yasuda said.

"As a manufacturer we are subject to fluctuating orders from our domestic and export markets, so we need to have the flexibility to respond to changes in conditions.

"We will now be working closely with all of our employees to ensure they understand why we have made this decision and support them during this difficult period."

Mr Yasuda said that while Holden continues to weigh the future of its local operations (Ford has already announced its exit) Toyota remains committed to Australian production.

"Everyone at Toyota Australia is working extremely hard to ensure our long term manufacturing future in Australia," he said.

"In the lead up to 2018 we need to reduce the cost of each of our locally built vehicles by $3800."

He said the company's plan for the future "is now seeing gaps" which must be closed before investment in next-generation models can be secured.

"This decision making process has started, so we must show our parent company that we are not only achieving our targets, but that we have the relevant plans in place to achieve them right up until 2018," Mr Yasuda said.

Toyota has also received more than $100 million in federal and state funding and, like Holden, is in ongoing discussion with government on further funding.

Local Aurion sales fell 25 percent in September (down from 721 to 537), although Camry sales remained relatively stable, down from 2267 in September 2012 to 2223 last month.

Ford's Falcon continues its slide - down 28.8 percent in September to 846 units - while the Commodore is up 13.3 percent to 2869 sales in September.

Across the market, Tasmania (at 11.1 percent) was the only state to see sales growth higher than one percent, while Victoria (0.7 percent) and South Australia (0.4) were the only other markets to see an increase.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has blamed the slow market on the previous federal govenment's changes to the Fringe Benefits Tax, but expects the new government's return to the original arrangement to kickstart new growth.

"We anticipate the market effect of this announcement will see positive growth throughout the rest of the year. Consumers can be confident that the recent FBT issue is now behind us," Tony Weber, Chief Executive of the FCAI, said.

Year-to-date sales are still up on 2012, with 849,944 sales in the first nine months of the year marking a 3.3 percent increase.

Toyota remains the top-selling brand with 158,793 sales this year, followed by Holden (81,904), Mazda (78,242), Hyundai (72,599), Ford (64,964), Nissan (59,460), Mitsubishi (54,603), Volkswagen (40,330), Honda (31,659) and Subaru (29,448).

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