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Friday, 1 May 1987
Page: 2192

Senator COOK —My question is directed to the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce. What are the implications for the Australian automobile industry of today's announcement by the Japanese auto giant Nissan that it intends to establish closer links with the Ford Motor Co. of Australia Ltd and co-operate in motor vehicle production?

Senator BUTTON —Nissan has today made an announcement to the effect that it proposes to enter into some joint model production with the Ford Motor Co. of Australia Ltd. That is consistent with arrangements that it has made with the parent company in the United States of America. It is highly appropriate in the Australian context, and the Government certainly welcomes the proposal for joint arrangements and joint production between those two major companies in Australia. It is consistent with the car plan which the Government announced in 1984. It is part of a series of discussions which have taken place between various companies in relation to the objectives of the car plan. To that extent the announcement is very much welcome.

I should also say that Nissan has announced or is taking steps to substantially improve its investment pattern in Australia and is examining the question of exports from this country. Nissan is already a significant exporter of component parts and it is looking at further export activity from Australia, which is consistent with the strategy which is now being adopted by a number of Japanese companies. In conclusion: For a long time we have held the view that five vehicle manufacturers producing 13 or 14 models is totally inconsistent with economic efficiency in the vehicle industry in Australia. This is an important step towards model reduction and consolidation and better use of facilities, and it is very much welcomed by the Government.