Sad day for car makers

Holden's last Cruze leaves the production line.
Holden's last Cruze leaves the production line.

FORD and Holden seldom have things in common.

But on October 1, Ford built its last Falcon and Holden quietly produced its last Cruze.

Both events reflected Australian manufacturing’s dependence on government funding, and followed similar closures in past years by Nissan and Mitsubishi, which successfully switched from manufacturing to importing.

The Cruze – an Australian-made Daewoo – cost taxpayers nearly $180 million and Holden admitted it could not have built the 126,000 cars without Federal and state government help.

The Federal Government of the day, headed by ‘Kevin 07’ Rudd, poured nearly $150 million into the venture and the South Australian Government made up the the balance.

The final Cruze, an SRI Z-series hatch, was donated to the Leukaemia Foundation.

Holden will still produce other vehicles until late next year, when it and Toyota will shut their production plants and join the other former Australian car builders as importers.