"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Australian Motor Industry

How's that for acceleration?... sort of lays your ears back... eh!!

Australian Motor Industry.

I feel reasonably well qualified to compile a story about Australia’s
motor industry and motoring history, this is because I am the son of
one of Australia’s first used car dealers… (There now you know why
you’ve had trouble believing some of my stories).

My Dad then turned his hand to Motor Wrecking, (this is the
dismantling of used cars and resale of the parts, just in case it’s known
by some other name over-seas) I still have nightmares about all the
vintage and classic cars that he consigned to oblivion.

So I was brought up around motor cars, I even, in my first lifetime,
had visions of how wonderful it would be to be a “Motor Mechanic” who
was able to keep the said motor cars running sweetly, about all that
needs to be said about that episode is that it lasted only as long as
my apprenticeship to the trade.

However in my second lifetime (by the way, I’m now on my third and
probably final lifetime) I was able to make some use of that long ago
training… as the proprioter of a Service Station who knew the correct
terminology when discussing their vehicles with customers.

OK that’s enough of my history this is supposed to be about cars,
like most other countries back in the era when we were changing over
from the horse and cart to the motor car Australia had it’s inventive
pioneers, a few of whom left their mark in our history.

However in the early 1900s when the industry was beginning
Australia’s population was a mere 4 million spread over one of the
largest land masses and with no road network to speak of so
progress lagged behind England, Europe and America.

There were import duties placed on imported vehicles to assist in
building up our workforce and it became profitable to import chassis
and running gear from overseas and build the bodies here, this
progressed to importing components un-assembled and building
assembly plants.

Our first true manufacturing plant was built by Ford Australia, a
subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, in 1926 at Geelong in Victoria,
Ford remain a force in Australia today.

In 1931 General Motors purchased the motor body building company
of “Holden’s Motor Body Builders Ltd” which became
“General Motors-Holden Ltd” known here as GMH.

It was GMH who were first to answer the call for an all Australian car,
built entirely in Australia, in 1948, just 3 short years after the crippling
World War 2, GMH released the first “Holden” to an enthusiastic
market place, GMH is another one of the manufacturers still here today,
in fact they have tasted market leadership more often than any other
company here.

There were many other manufacturing and or assembly plants set up
here as well these included many British and European marques all of
which have since faded into oblivion as Australian manufacturers.

The first Toyota plant outside of Japan was built here under a joint
banner of “Theiss Toyota”, Theiss Brothers were a huge Mining and
Construction Company with an almost insatiable thirst for Toyota’s
new “Land Cruiser” vehicles.

This was a marriage which has since led to Toyota becoming the sales
leader for all vehicles sold here in Australia.

From nowhere in the 1950s we now have the huge Japanese car makers
Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Subaru, all becoming important world
players and the fledgling industry from Korea, China, India all starting
to make inroads our local manufacturers are having a tough time.

That is a very brief history of the manufacturing side of the Australian
industry, many facets of this industry have been subjected to a lot of
interference by Government in the forms of Import Duties and
Taxation breaks over the years, I am of the opinion that market forces
may have done a better job on the final result, but we’ll never know now.

I think we’ll leave it there and do some more next post, in
closing this scene would have been fairly representative of an
early 1930s garage anywhere in Australia.

My work is the only ground

I've ever had to stand on.

I seem to have a whole
superstructure with no foundation,
but I'm working on the foundation.

(That's some superstructure though Marilyn!!)


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the history lesson, Peter. Good post.

Cliff Morrow said...

The manufacturers here are having a rough go of it. Seems GM must tack on $1500 to the cost of each car to pay for Insurance benefits for it's workers. The problem is that they are letting workers retire early and guaranteeing to pay their Health insurance until they get old enough to get Federal coverage at about 65. Nonsense. My insurance for the two of us is over $1000 per month. But...on the other hand, I had cancer and I'm still kickin so it must be worth it.

Dave said...

Wow, excellent story Peter!!! Very informative to us friends "across the pond"!

Tan Lucy Pez said...

It took me a long time to read all the posts that I have missed, but it was worth it!

Good stuff. All of it.

Margaret said...

Another interesting post, My how things have changed for the motor industry here in Oz. BTW my bloglines seem to be behaving at the present moment.
Cheers Margaret

Lee said...

Thanks for all of that, Peter...very interesting. A great lesson in history...as usual. :)

DellaB said...

Hi Peter, I spent many years in Adelaide, where they have the big Mitsubishi plant, and some of my then-husbands extended family work there. Poor things, they never know if they'll still have a job from one year to the next, they keep threatening to close the plant or move it, then I believe the politics kick-in and they get a rescue package. Till the next time...

Interesting post, thanks...

Miss said...

Yes, Motor Wrecking brings up a very different picture here in the US. Great post!

Miss Cellania

Jeanette said...

Hi Peter
Nice history lesson on the motor industry.

Joy said...

Ever a fountain of information...that's you Peter. Thanks for the historical look into the motor industry....amazing what you can learn from the Blogosphere. Take care....