Representatives from automotive suppliers met with Ford executives at fair organised by the car company at Geelong yesterday.
Ford announced earlier this month that it had assisted nine of its local component suppliers to sell into its global operations.
However, the car maker and the components industry acknowledge that the task of diversifying and earning more work exporting will be difficult.
The Federation of Automotive Parts Manufacturers is urging the federal government to the Automotive Transformation Scheme to assist the sector.
"What we’re looking for is a continuance of the assistance programs that are already in place to support the carmakers and the component makers through to 2020," FAPMA’s president Jim Griffin told the ABC.
He said that many firms would close without the assistance.
"We know that Ford is leaving in 2016, Toyota and General Motors in 2017, but what we want to see is a continuation of those programs to assist the components industry to survive beyond that point," he said.
Also in Geelong for the event was Ford’s Asia Pacific vice president for purchasing Keith Cooper, who advised that local auto suppliers be as competitive as possible through efficiency and innovation.
“My advice to them would be look at the product sector they are participating in... invest more in terms of capital or equipment and reducing their labour cost and being more efficient,” he told The Australian Financial Review.
He cited Japan and South Korea, both high cost countries that had successful auto suppliers.