Australia: Toyota cuts 350 jobs image

The Australian arm of Japanese auto giant Toyota announced Monday that it would cut 350 jobs due to pressures caused by the high Australian dollar, a union delegate says.

The affected workers are expected to lose their jobs from April, with most positions to go at the company’s plant at Altona in Melbourne.

“Toyota Australia is facing severe operating conditions resulting in unsustainable financial returns due to factors including the strong Australian currency, reduced cost competitiveness and volume decline, especially in export markets,” Yasuda said.

Mr Yasuda said the company’s vehicle manufacturing production levels had reduced from 149,000 in 2007, to 94,000 in 2011, and an expected 95,000 cars in 2012.

“The reality is that our volumes are down. What we assumed was a temporary circumstance has turned into a permanent situation,” he said.

“This drop of 36 per cent in just four years shows the scale of our challenges.”

Senator Carr said Toyota’s decision highlighted the folly of the coalition’s promise to end government assistance to the car industry in 2016.

‘The Gillard Labor government will continue to support this industry because it is essential to us remaining a sophisticated manufacturing nation, rather than simply a nation that digs things up,’ he said.

Local sales also dropped during the runout of a superseded model and the switch to an all-new Camry, which is just heading to showrooms, as well as the introduction of a new Camry hybrid and V6 Aurion from March.

Australia’s export industry has suffered from a 17 percent rise of the local currency against the U.S. dollar in the past two years, making products less competitive in overseas markets.

Toyota employs about 4,700 workers in Australia and about two thirds of them were at the Altona plant for the announcement this afternoon.