SA car component industry looks to China for future

By From www.abc.net.au| Apr 12 2007
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South Australia's car component makers are hoping the Chinese market could help secure their future.

Government, business and union officials are heading to China next weekend to meet car makers there.

SA Treasurer Kevin Foley will be going, along with representatives from component manufacturers Futuris, SAGE Automotive and AI Automotive.

Jobs have been lost in the components sector because of a slowdown in Australia's car industry and cheaper overseas competition.

But Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokesman Paul McMahon says Chinese car makers may be interested in a different product.

"If we are able to provide parts that are quite complicated and the value-added type parts, then I think we can compete," he said.

"You only need to look at Europe - their wages are higher than ours but they've got a very good manufacturing base while we've got to get over the concern about the labour costs."

Mr McMahon says local suppliers must look opportunities outside Australia.

"We have to have a good export base," he said.

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