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Auto Industry

Toyota last carmaker to call it quits in Australia

Japanese carmaker Toyota has said being the only remaining carmaker in Australia no longer ensures a viable production scheme. It announced that in joining others it would stop producing cars there by 2017.

Toyota said on Monday that its planned production halt in 2017 would cost 2,500 jobs, but added the move was inevitable because of an unhealthy business environment in Australia.

The Japanese firm will join General Motors Holden and Ford Motor Company as Australians increasingly opt for imported vehicles.

Toyota said it exported half of the production from its Melbourne facility and had warned a few months ago that becoming the sole manufacturer in the market would "place unprecedented pressure on the local supplier network and the company's ability to build cars in Australia."

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"We did everything we could to transform our business, but the reality is that there are too many factors beyond our control that make it unviable to make cars here," Toyota Australia chief Max Yasuda said in a statement.

He specifically mentioned high labor costs and the strength of the Australian dollar against other currencies that had made local production unprofitable.

The government's Productivity Commission admitted last month that even if the three remaining carmakers combined production at one plant, it would still not have the economies of scale to be internationally competitive.

hg/msh (AP, dpa)

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