Yes there are automotive supplier successes in Australia! Proactive companies identified a number of years ago that the future of automotive manufacturing in Australia was risky. They determined that to build a business case on the future of Australian OE manufacturing was high risk. Successful companies began a while back, before the GFC, to look to overseas markets for their products. They understood that automotive manufacturing is a globally competitive industry with global markets. Production manufacturers were not competing against another supplier in Adelaide or Dandenong but against anyone anywhere in the world. They needed differentiated products, technology and manufacturing know-how to compete.
These companies have succeeded in a diverse range of products from casting technology, windscreens and fasteners. Some of these successful companies have established production plants in Asia or North America or both, have secure contracts with major manufacturers and have a bright future. Some examples of these quite achievers, drowned out by doomsday press include:
- Staetite Fasteners
- T-Mag Casting Technology
- Precision Components
- AVL NTC Powertrain
In discussions with some CEO’s they are concerned that those now looking to establish a plant in Thailand may be too late. The Thai auto industry is thriving and producing approximately 2.5m vehicles per year (about 10 times more than Australia) with well established supply chains. Differentiating technology is however still key to future success and the ingenuity of the local component suppliers can still provide a key to access these foreign markets. Companies can still establish themselves and succeed in the international arena.
Government policy is important for the component suppliers but the successful businesses moved ahead of the government and succeeded in their own right. The government will try to provide a soft landing however there are no guarantees and one would question how effective they will be. CEO’s indicate that the industry trade missions that have been facilitated by the government and peak bodies have often been the catalyst to starting up as a supplier or manufacturer in a foreign country – have you participated, are you going to participate?
What is your strategy to join the ranks of automotive supplier successes in Australia?