Only government cash keeps the Australian car industry afloat

GOVERNMENT subsides of more than $300 million a year are the only thing keeping Australian car making alive, says the man who led the small-car revolution that deposed the Holden Commodore.

Mazda Australia's Doug Dickson said subsides as high as $100 million a year for Ford, Holden and Toyota were the only thing keeping them alive as local makers.

The baby Mazda3 was officially Australia's favourite car last year, leading the Mazda boss to question the viability of the Commodore and Ford Falcon.

"If the car makers continue to get subsidies, they will remain here," Mr Dickson said. "It guarantees them dominance and gives them a competitive edge with fleets, government and private buyers, who like the fact that they are here."

Mr Dickson said he "desperately" wanted an Australian motor industry. "As an Australian, I don't care what they make as long as they provide the infrastructure for young Australians to become good at making things."

"As a industry figure I want the industry to be strong because we become a whole lot more important as an industry. Without manufacturing here we would just stand in a long line waiting for attention."


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