Nichols Gruen, a senior Australian economist, has said that an end to car manufacturing in Australia would be merely unfortunate, and that Holden and Ford’s factories could be sold or used by a Chinese partner.
Gruen, who has been an economics adviser to two Labor ministers and was behind the so-called Button Plan – named for former Labor industry minister John Button – spoke to a radio station yesterday, claiming that the current subsidies to the industry would only buy one more model cycle.
What should be considered, said Gruen, was selling the factories or having a Chinese company use them.
"The (manufacturing) assets themselves are actually quite valuable," he told 2GB’s Money Matters program.
"Consider a Chinese company which doesn't have a lot of design capability, many of them can't design a complete car and have no large car even on the drawing boards, this is actually a very good fit for them."
Gruen, who is CEO of Lateral Economics, said that any future assistance should have more conditions attached to it.
"We've already committed to throwing a fair bit of money at this industry for good or for bad, how can we can think about doing it in the most constructive way possible?"