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Toyota announces closure date for plant near Melbourne

Kyodo

Toyota Australia has announced that it will end vehicle production at its Altona plant near Melbourne in early October, more than halving its local workforce.

Toyota said in 2014 it would end production in Australia this year but had not set a closure date for the factory that has operated in the southeastern state of Victoria since 1978.

“Our priority over the remaining months is to continue to support our employees in every way possible so that they are well-prepared for the future,” Toyota Australia President Dave Buttner said Tuesday in a company statement. “We remain extremely proud of our rich manufacturing history which spans over 50 years.”

Toyota’s Australian workforce, which numbers 3,900, will be slashed to just 1,300 after the closure, with corporate functions being centralized in Melbourne.

The decision also means Toyota will end production of the Aurion in August, Camry Hybrid models in September and the Camry gasoline model in October.

The announcement effectively marks the end of the Australian auto manufacturing industry.

GM Holden Ltd., a subsidiary of General Motors Co., is also due to end production at its plant in South Australia in October. Ford Motor Co. shut down its two plants in Victoria in late 2016.

In announcing they were quitting Australia, the three automakers cited high costs, market fragmentation and fierce competition, among other factors.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. exited Australia in 2008.