Australia is seeing some very interesting times for its auto industry at present. Following the news of General Motors, Ford and Toyota all pulling manufacturing operations out of the country, a silver of hope rose.
Guido Dumarey, a Belgian entrepreneur and owner of Punch Powerglide, officially came forth at the beginning of this year with a proposal to purchase Holden’s South Adelaide factory and save the Zeta, rear-wheel drive architecture on which the current Holden Commodore is based upon.
Dumarey has seemed nothing but confident he will succeed, and now, he’s gaining quite a bit of political support. AAP reports South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and federal cabinet minister Christopher Pyne have both offered up their support for Dumarey and his bid to save the assembly.
Holden officially responded saying it has not yet received a formal offer, but it will be open to the idea.
“The future of our Adelaide plant remains a work in progress,” a Holden spokesman said.
“If a party is interested in the ongoing use of one our sites, Holden and GM will assess any detailed plans should they be submitted.”
Weatherill said Durmarey was one of many parties interested in the site, but particularly was keen to the idea of automotive manufacturing.
“He’s talking about a rear-wheel drive platform, which is what this particular factory does, and that can lend itself to doing many different types of vehicles,” the premier said.
“If this stacks up and it’s the best use of the property from our perspective, we’ll certainly get in behind it.”
Dumarey’s plan still has quite a way to go, however. His proposal will require significant federal backing, something the Belgian business tycoon has been busy working on. However, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union has already thrown its support in favor of Dumarey.
“We have the workforce in regards to building the car from A to Z,” SA branch general secretary John Camillo said.
“With the Australian dollar being less than 70 cents now, there is quite a margin there to make profits in selling to the international market.”
Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon has also been of noteworthy support for Dumarey’s proposal, too, calling on the country to pause its decision on allowing foreign automaker’s to bid on its future fleet of federal and police vehicles.
“I spoke to Mr Dumarey last night. This is a strong, credible proposal that deserves a fair go and that’s all he is asking.”