The Productivity Commission report into assistance to car makers has been sped up, in what seems to be an attempt to deliver its interim findings before Holden’s summer holiday shutdown.
News Corp reports that industry minister Ian Macfarlane has asked for the interim report to be delivered on December 20, with the final report to be handed down at the end of March 2014.
Macfarlane is believed to have selected the date based on the break for Holden’s shutdown over the summer, during which it would re-tool its factory in preparation for two new car models.
Fairfax describes the acceleration of the Productivity Commission’s research as a “last ditch bid” to encourage Holden to stay, with parent company General Motors claiming it would need to decide by Christmas whether or not it will invest in upgrades to Holden’s Elizabeth factory.
Some have interpreted the decision by managing director Mike Devereux to accept a promotion to GM’s consolidated international operations is Shanghai as a signal that Holden’s time in Australia is up.
The terms of reference for the Productivity Commission’s research will cover assistance to the auto sector in Australia compared to other countries, long-term sustainability and the potential for exports. The latter is a strong concern for car makers, with the persistent strength of the Australian dollar making export difficult.