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Toyota shuts down production in Australia after half century

Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it has terminated production at its Altona plant near Melbourne, capping 54 years of making cars in Australia amid deteriorating business conditions.

The automaker began assembling cars in a Melbourne suburb in 1963. Production at the Altona factory started in 1994. Toyota’s peak annual output in the country reached close to 150,000 in 2007.

The company announced the decision to end production in the country in 2014 as competition with import brands intensified due partly to strengthening of the Australian dollar and an outlook for limited growth in the local auto market.

The Altona plant will be converted into a facility for training and product development, it said.

Toyota’s local unit will focus on sales, and its workforce in Australia will be cut to around 1,300 from 3,900.

GM Holden, the only firm making cars in Australia now, will end its production later this month.