Friday, 13 December 2013

General Motors in Detroit was not amused by Abbott, Hockey and Truss

Apparently the three amigos pictured above had a plan to force General Motor’s hand – no increase in motor industry funding and get the bad news over before Christmas.

It worked.

So its Merry Christmas! to GM Holden workers at Elizabeth, Dandenong and Port Melbourne from an ungrateful Abbott Government they helped elect just 98 short days ago.

How it played out in the media........

The Australian 7 December 2013:

Holden sources said Mr Abbott's comments were an "extraordinary" attempt by the Coalition to "bully" GM into an announcement before Christmas.

The Sydney Morning Herald 10 December 2013:

Holden strategists suspect the Coalition wants the car maker to pull the pin as soon as possible to put as much distance between the announcement and the South Australian state election it is hoping to win...
Tony Abbott has already pre-empted his own Productivity Commission to some extent by declaring there will be no more money for Holden above that already on the table... 11 December 2013:

THE Prime Minister's flagship fleet of high-security Holden limos is expected to be replaced with bomb and gas proof BMWs after Government sources claimed Holden had failed to bid for a lucrative $4 million plus contract to replace the ageing convoy of armoured cars.

The Sydney Morning Herald 12 December 2013:

It was the text message that sounded the death knell for Holden as a manufacturer in Australia. 
''Are you seeing this question time attack on Holden?'' read the text message, sent by a company insider. ''Taunting [Holden] to leave. It's extraordinary.''
It was sent by one of the company's key strategists at 2.30pm on Tuesday, as Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss and Treasurer Joe Hockey were ripping the car maker to shreds during parliamentary question time...
While listening to the words of Mr Hockey and Mr Truss, the Holden boss was on the phone to Detroit, where it was after 10pm.
Mr Devereux informed GM headquarters of the events in Australia. The decision was swift. Detroit pulled the pin...


The Age 13 December 2013:

The top-of-the-line Holden Caprice was recommended by the Attorney-General's Department in 2012 as the preferred option for a fleet of nine specialised blast-proof VIP vehicles to be used by the Prime Minister and other dignitaries, according to confidential government documents.
The revelation appears to contradict reported Abbott government sources as saying Holden had not even submitted a bid in the tender because the car-maker simply ''was not interested''.
Holden viewed that claim, which appeared in a News Corp newspaper on Wednesday, just hours before the US-owned car maker announced its withdrawal, as part of a deliberate negative backgrounding campaign by Coalition ministers to make Holden look uncommitted to Australia.
The report also cited government sources revealing the multimillion-dollar contract to replace the ageing fleet of Caprices, was about to be filled with ''off-the-shelf BMW High Security 7-Series vehicles'', worth $525,000 each.
Part of a confidential ministerial brief from the Attorney-General's Department to then Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has been shown to Fairfax Media.
Dated 12-12-12, and headed ''Protected Vehicle Acquisition - an update on progress'', its summary advised Ms Roxon that after a lengthy evaluation process through 2012, a bid by BAE Systems in conjunction with Holden was successful - outpointing several European options.
It said the successful bidder had been chosen from a shortlist of four, which also included two German automotive manufacturers - Audi and Mercedes-Benz - and another Holden joint bid by a company called Integrated Design and Engineering Solutions. BMW, however, was not mentioned and it is understood from the documentation that the Bavaria-based auto giant had not even been shortlisted.
It remains unclear why the Holden-BAE recommendation was not acted on, but a government insider from the time said the then-prime minister Julia Gillard had been concerned about negative publicity if Labor was seen to be spending $7 million of taxpayers' money on limousines in the lead-up to the election. The internal departmental documents from December 2012 raise questions as to how BMW came to be considered given it was not shortlisted and was not the successful bidder....

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