For Sale By:Dealer
Number of Cylinders: 6
Drive Type: RWD
Sub Model: 2-DOOR SEDAN
Exterior Color: Blue
Interior Color: Blue
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
With Ford and General Motors both announcing an end to production in Australia, the country's auto industry is in a bad way. With the exit of two big players, there's increased concern that a third Australian manufacturer, Toyota, will be forced out, as well.
"We are saddened to learn of GM Holden's decision. This will place unprecedented pressure on the local supplier network and our ability to build cars in Australia," Toyota Australia said in a statement. The GM closure of Holden production will be the direct end to 2,900 jobs, but will also force a dramatic reduction in the size of the country's supplier network, as there will simply be fewer cars to build.
In the same statement, Toyota Australia said it would work with suppliers and local government to figure out whether continuing production Down Under was even feasible. According to Automotive News, a representative for the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union told reporters it was "highly likely" that Toyota would also close up shop within the next few years.
If you want further proof that the auto industry is bouncing back, look no further than the empty lots and forecourts of your local dealership. According to a story by The Wall Street Journal, continued high demand for mainstream cars is overtaxing automakers' ability to produce enough models. Several dealers interviewed for the story are reporting two-week supplies as opposed to the typical two-month allocations.
With sales expected to hit 1.4 million units when August numbers arrive shortly and incentive spending down to its lowest amount since January, these limited supplies are pushing prices even higher. For example, according to the WSJ, the average price of a Ford Fusion is up past $26,000. Unfortunately, it's difficult for manufacturers to increase production quickly. If it invests in its facilities, as many manufacturers have done, it risks wasting cash if growth suddenly slows. At the same time, the momentum gained over the past several years could be short lived if vehicle supplies continue to dwindle. "Manufacturers are in a precarious situation," notes Karl Brauer, a senior director at Kelley Blue Book.
Low interest rates and a wealth of desirable features are also allowing customers to purchase more expensive vehicles while justifying their higher overall price tags, a situation that is compounding supply shortages. Even now, during the annual end-of-summer clearance season, deals on new vehicles are remarkably difficult to come by. According to the report, the Toyota Corolla is in a self-inflicted state of shortage, as Toyota clears out inventory in anticipation of the new 2014 generation arriving in dealers. Ford's supplies should rebound as Fusion production comes on line at its Flat Rock, Michigan factory. The Chevrolet Impala, Honda Odyssey, Civic, and Accord and Subaru Forester are also facing shortages.
There have been rumors that Ford CEO Alan Mulally could assume the top job over at Microsoft, whose CEO, Steve Ballmer, will retire within the year. Mulally hasn't come out and said that he's considering moving to Microsoft after (or before) his contract with Ford through 2014 ends, but sources in the know say he's the front-runner to become the tech giant's CEO and has opened up to the idea more in recent weeks, AllThingsD reports.
Mulally is no stranger to Washington, where Microsoft is located, having worked in the state for Seattle-based Boeing Commercial Airplanes as CEO years ago. He also recently was an adviser to Ballmer in an effort to realign the company's management structure to help it become more competitive in a fast-changing computer hardware and software market. And when Ford developed its Sync digital interface, it tapped Microsoft to provide the operating system, Microsoft Auto. Perhaps the least crucial connection - but nonetheless an important one - is that Mulally still owns a house in the Seattle area, and it's been said he wants to return there, according to AllThingsD.
A main challenge Microsoft's next CEO will face is how to manage the company's numerous, fractured operations and, eventually, streamline them. But even on this front, Mulally has experience; after all, it was he who ushered in an era of global Ford vehicles, after the automaker had become complacent developing and selling vehicles by region leading up to the economic recession of 2008-2009.