THE DISTILLERY: Auto motives

Commentators look over the wrecking of the automotive industry, while others critique Australia's economic fortunes.

Watching the Australian automotive manufacturing industry cut back jobs is like watching a car accident happen in super-slow motion. We’ve spotted the causes of the accident – high Australian dollar and poor domestic demand – now we just have to see if it hits the wall and needs to be written-off, even with government assistance. However, the Australian Financial Review’s Peter Roberts reminds us that global carmakers vary slightly in their culture and if Toyota Australia is to have a future in Australia beyond its current five-year commitment, union attitudes will be crucial. Meanwhile, the high Australian dollar comes up for discussion along with two other factors hindering the local economy, while another business writer brings us the latest research from global management consultant McKinsey.

But first, we start with the Australian Financial Review’s Peter Roberts, who says Toyota, which has just slashed 350 jobs out of its Altona North factory, prides itself on having harmonious industrial relations. That harmony was broken last year.

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