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Faulty airbags led to the biggest auto recall in US history. Airbag explosion via

Why automakers so frequently botch product recalls

From Ford's Pinto problem to Takata's defective airbags, sometimes it seems auto companies know how to do little more than mismanage product recalls.
A detail from the north wall of Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry. Diego Rivera, 1932. Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit, 1932: when Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo came to town

A new exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts highlights a controversial mural commissioned during a period fraught with social unrest.
The link between manufacturing cars and developing technology has been fundamental in Australia. AAP

Losing the car industry means we risk our technology

As I’ve argued before and it’s generally accepted, the car industry is a critical part of Australia’s science and technology base. The sector spends A$600 million a year on R&D and another $800 million…
Toyota has surprised with an announcement it would finish manufacturing cars here at the end of 2017. AAP

Toyota names 2017 end, Australian car making to cease: experts react

Toyota has confirmed it will cease its vehicle and engine production in Australia by the end of 2017, signalling the end of automotive manufacturing in Australia. The announcement follows decisions by…
Debt; dollar; deficit - the mantra for this year, amid a turbulent political period. AAP

2013, the year that was: Business and Economy

Debt. Dollar. Deficits. Three little words so close to the hearts of our contributors in a year dominated by a critical federal election, a waning mining boom and continuing international turbulence. The…
Those scrutinising government support of the car industry have changed their views over time. judepics/Flickr

Measuring the fallout of Holden’s ‘perfect storm’

For many decades, Australians have regarded a local car industry as a demonstration of our domestic capability. Sometimes, we have paid dearly for our enthusiasm. In the late 1970s, import quotas limited…
Does the Holden pull-out have to mean the death of Australian manufacturing? Daniel Munoz/AAP

The future of manufacturing: niche doesn’t need to be small

An unfortunate consequence of Holden and Ford’s decision to cease manufacturing cars in Australia is the negative impression that all local manufacturing is similarly doomed. Yet there are plenty of local…
The withdrawal of General Motors in Australia follows the step back of government support for GMH in the US. Hugo90/Flickr

Moving on: Holden closure shows we need a new growth agenda

General Motors has confirmed it will cease manufacturing in Australia from 2017, citing a “perfect storm of negative influences”. GM chairman Dan Akerson said these forces include “the sustained strength…
Labor MP Darren Cheeseman faces an uphill battle to retain Corangamite. The Victorian electorate is Australia’s most marginal seat. AAP/David Crosling

Ultra-marginal Corangamite is a mirror of the nation

In 2013, the Victorian electorate of Corangamite is a mirror of the nation’s electoral allegiance and social composition. At the 2010 federal election, Labor’s Darren Cheeseman narrowly won on the back…
Ford’s departure from Victorian communities will hurt - but it does not have to be devastating. AAP

Ford’s departure is bad news, but not the end of the world

There will be a lot of debate as to why Ford now finds itself in the situation it is in. Ford CEO, Robert Graziano, cited economies of scale as the primary factor that made continuing to produce cars in…
Ford’s impending shutdown of its car-making plants in Australia does not bode well for an already ailing manufacturing sector. AAP

Ford’s exit spells the end of the road for manufacturing

“You’ll never see Japanese cars in an RSL car park.” That was Bill Bourke, Ford Australia’s sales supremo of the ’60s. Bourke was wrong. Dead wrong. In 2016, Ford will cease manufacturing in Australia…
Nearly half of Australian adults are functionally illiterate, with manufacturing workers having some of the country’s lowest literacy levels, a significant issue as the industry continues to shed jobs. AAP Image/Julian Smith

The future for Ford workers: literacy will be key

Yesterday’s announcement that Ford will close its manufacturing operations in Geelong and Broadmeadows by 2016 at the cost of 1,200 jobs raises questions of what the workers' future employment options…
Ford has been one of Australia’s iconic brands for decades. But the announcement of the company’s planned departure should surprise noone. Michael Own via Wikimedia Commons.

Ford’s exit foreshadows a looming reality check for Australian manufacturing

Today’s announcement by Ford Australia President Bob Graziano that the car company will exit Australian manufacturing by 2016 is not a surprise for anyone who has been paying attention to the fortunes…
Recent redundancies at Holden have sparked debate over the need for a revised “industry policy”: but is this really the way forward? AAP/Andrew Brownbill

Industry policy must not second guess markets

The recent GM-Holden redundancies have provoked much comment, in many cases appealing for both state and federal governments to find solutions. But can government solve this dilemma, or is it a (big) part…
Instead of relying on unconditional government largess, car companies in Australia should be asked to provide guarantees. AAP

Moving the car industry debate beyond a squabble over subsidies

A famous quote from Albert Einstein states that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. Yet this is exactly what has occurred in the car industry which has…

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