What seems to have escaped everyone's attention is the little matter of price
There is no way Downer would have exited local assembly if they were price competitive, and could continue to manufacture here with an acceptable profit margin. Feedback from their customer base must have indicated that a lower cost was required. and there was resistance by buyers to the price level of Australian assembled product (particularly in SG), hence their decision to source overseas
What must be considered is that if the market is becoming so cost sensitive (import of cheap Chinese product of doubtful reliability), will the punters be prepared to pay a premium to have Downer's designs manufactured overseas, compared to cheaper off the shelf offerings.
Wabtec/MPI are enjoying success at the moment with their "international model", which employs a Cummins prime mover.
Cummins are probably 12 months out from releasing their QSK95 (up to 4200HP in V-16 form), which will take on the MTU 20-4000http://cumminsengines.com/uploads/docs/4087269.pdf
It was a courageous decision by GE/UGL to continue with the (narrow gauge) development of the PowerHaul here. A NG GT46ACs will have a 750HP advantage, and could come in at under 130 tonnes, so acceptable for the Central Qld coal network. Should we assume that the P616 is a cheap motor to produce, inline with the high speed offerings from Cat, Cummins and MTU, so GE see a price advantage?
UGL will only persist with assembly in Australia as long as the C44 family continues to sell. What must be worrying from their employees perspective is the success of the GE/Transnet JV in South Africa, a country with a wage structure now similar to coastal China. In the last 2 years this JV has assembled 133 locos, and has recently purchased a further 53 kits from GE in the USA to cover orders from Anglo-American, CFM in Mozambique, and the Angolan Govt. A winner of the recently closed tender for 465 diesels for Transnet (required to be assembled in SA with a high local content) is expected to be announced at the end of this year. 18 months ago it was widely reported in the South African press that Aurizon and Transnet were negotiating a new locomotive supply venture, based on assembly of GE components in Pretoria. Is this proposed venture dead?