Common knowledge that the car industry needed $500,000,000 to keep it going which is pin money really - the National Party diverted it to one of their pet projects and it was goodbye car industry.
Wages and living standards are falling and have been falling since 2012, especially the bottom half where incomes are back to where they were in 1992. Part of the problem is that the formerly strong working class don't have access to the jobs that allowed them to spend money and participate in society. Instead we have something like 1.5 million people under-employed and often below the poverty line, there's all sorts of measures suggesting poverty is getting worse.
Want to see the results of the steady off-shoring of all the good jobs? Look no further than the plummeting housing market, now reaching critical mass in every one of the five mainland capitals:
Brisbane (inc Gold Coast)-1.91%
If this keeps going (which it will) then the banks will tank and the government will probably have to acquire the superannuation pool to keep the nation going. It's all part of the process: We're transitioning to being a poor country like Brazil or South Africa where the majority don't have have jobs that they can sustain themselves with. It's the unravelling of the conditions that the unions fought so hard for us for in the 1890's-1920's... now we're going to be a relatively unequal and poor country for a while.
That's $500/car and rising as the sales of cares was in sharp decline dropping 10% per year for Holden and Ford models. Only Toyota was holding their own with export but in hindsight we now know this is also in decline as mid sized sedans are being dropped for SUV/4x4.
Note also remember Toyota's exports were just to increase the numbers to sustain production rates at reasonable levels as the Australian production line wasn't needed for the export products.
The problem was Don, they didn't want to stay here. The comment of chasing them down the road with a blank cheque wasn't wrong. Ford was offered money to make the Ranger here, they declined. Thailand and South Africa are far cheaper.
GM have now stopped production of the Cruz in Nth America so it was dying.
Ford Territory was probably a model that could have been developed, but Ford Global didn't want it, its biggest competition is the Edge, so for Ford its about making two cars almost the same. Ford's been going for years, it was always just a matter of time and we were lucky for it to last this long. GM CEO directed GM Australia to close. Toyota could not remain on their own.
Looking at future developments of Ford, they are now in the process of getting out of making sedans completely and likewise GM.
The industry simply didn't want to be here and how much money do we throw at them to stay to make cars we don't buy?
The issue for Australia is that we have the largest number of models available on any market. No where in the world do you have such choice, so the only way to sustain the industry is export, but we are simply too expensive. Even EU car manufacture is headed to eastern Europe with only high end models remaining in Germany etc.
Housing prices in Sydney need to drop to 20-25% before we achieve long term sustainable and affordable housing prices.