Australia will build its last car this week.The Australian automobile manufacturing industry is set to die off this week after General Motors closes its factory doors on October 20.The end of the line has been in sight for the Australian auto industry for several years, but that future will become reality on Friday when the last auto builder in the country closes up shop. GM is the last Australian manufacturing holdout; Ford ceased operations in the country last year and Toyota built its last vehicle in the country about two weeks ago.
Australia has a long and storied manufacturing history that dates back to 1925 when Ford began building cars in the country. GM's Holden division began building its own cars in the country in 1948. Toyota established its first manufacturing plant outside of Japan in Australia in 1963.
But over the last 15 years or so, the Australian manufacturing business has collapsed. At their height, Ford, Toyota and GM built around 150,000 vehicles in Australia per year. Last year the collective sales of locally produced vehicles plummeted to 87,000 units.
Toyota, Australia's largest vehicle exporter, was hoping to keep the lights on a little longer, but that proved impossible with the departures of Ford and GM from local manufacturing. The Australian supplier base, which supplied parts to all three companies, simply couldn't survive with orders from just one company.
In the United States the demise of the Australian auto industry means the death of the Chevrolet SS sedan. The Chevy SS, which was positioned as a large performance sedan, was built in Australia and based on the Holden Commodore.