An Australian-based company wants to open a factory in Edinburgh Parks and employ 370 people as part of a plan to make cars in SA after Holden closes.
Ethan Automotive has plans to open an office for administration, design and engineering at the Port this year and employ 70 people. The company wants to manufacture their own brand of electric, petrol engine and hybrid cars at a vacant site at Edinburgh Parks.
More than 300 people would work there once the plant is fully operational by 2018 and the company hopes to provide an employment pathway for some Holden workers. The company's spokeswoman Dr Brigid Mahoney said Ethan Automotive was in talks with the State Government about the project.
The company hopes to release the first prototypes by 2017 and the first car to the market in 2018. The company's spokeswoman, Dr Brigid Mahoney, said Ethan Automotive was in talks with the State Government about finding a site in the heart of the Port. "You've got the expressway that goes right up to the northern suburbs from the Port," Dr Mahoney said.
The company wants to sell direct to customers, cutting out dealers and making cars up to 40 per cent cheaper.
"We like the Port because it's close to the airport for interstate and international auto experts to come in and out and we think there's enough room and capacity." The company had originally wanted to take over Holden's soon-to-be-vacated Elizabeth plant but has decided against it.
"Holden, Ford and Toyota run a high-volume operation and it's all on a global platform," Dr Mahoney said. "All the equipment isn't going to work for our production models." Dr Mahoney said the idea was viable because it was smaller than Holden, Toyota and Ford's operations.
"They are making profits from a stable of factories around the world and their main focus isn't the local workers. "We've looked at different aspects of that business and realised high volume will not work for us." Dr Mahoney said private investors were looking to part-fund the project, but the company would also seek state and federal government support.
The company wants to sell direct to customers, cutting out dealers and making cars up to 40 per cent cheaper. Automotive Minister Kyam Maher said he backed "all proposals supporting manufacturing in this state".
Federal Industry Minister Ian MacFarlane's spokeswoman, Kylie Barron, said the government welcomed 'innovation and new ideas from Australian businesses". Ms Barron said car makers could apply for funding under several government programs.
THE ROAD AHEAD
The Melbourne-based firm expects to roll 12,000 cars off the production line in 2018. That number would increase to 50,000 by 2023. The company has not decided on a name for the car brand. The first model produced would have a rear-wheel drive layout.