It was a very painful, not to mention, a very steep price to pay. Australia has now become a laughing stock that after awarding a $34 million subsidy for Ford Australia and expecting 300 jobs in return, the complete opposite happened when the automaker announced its 440 job cuts earlier this week.
No matter what the Gillard government says or no matter how much it defends the investment it injected into the local car industry, it is very obvious Australians no longer have the interest for Australian-made cars, Joe Hockey, Opposition treasury spokesman, said.
"The issue is Australians are voting with their feet and not buying Australian-made vehicles - they're doing it," he told the Seven Network, stressing it was utterly "wrong" writing a cheque void of conditions to companies like Ford and General Motors Holden.
The bailout money announced just this January was part of a $103-million package provided by the federal and Victorian governments, as well as Ford's U.S. parent company.
"You know, Australian-made vehicles are roughly 70 per cent of sales of what they were previously and therefore Australian consumers are deciding not to support Australian-made cars because in a number of cases like the Falcon (it) just does not add up for Australian households."
Mr Hockey advised government it would be best to wake up to the reality that the present crop of Australians prefers imported vehicles.
"Let's put it in the hands of the Australian people - they're making their decisions," he said.
Ford Australia on Tuesday announced it will slash more than 440 jobs at its Geelong and Broadmeadows production plants, forced by falling sales of large cars.
Automaker Ford Cuts More Than 400 Jobs in Victoria, Australia
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