Australian-Made Cars: The Definitive Guide

The Australian automobile industry got off to a headstart in the previous century. Many carmakers started manufacturing vehicles on Aussie soil. Ford happened to be the first one. By the 70s, the number of cars in Australia was up to almost half a million. However, within a decade of the millennium, the car industry had shrunk to 175,000 units per year. Most of the cars were being imported from Asia and Europe. For the past five or six years, the leading manufacturers have been GM and Toyota. 

Among some of the largest manufacturers are a couple of well-known and not-so-well-known brands. While most make trucks, some also create cars. 

  • Volvo is one company that makes standard vehicles worthy of its name. 
  • The Australian Motor Industries manually crunches out a series of Mercedes cars. 
  • British Leyland is another company with an Australian branch. 
  • Then there is Chrysler
  • Ford, the original maker, closed shop sometime in 2016. 
  • The arch-Aussie brand, which was a name to be reckoned with, was Holden. However, it too wrapped up operations the previous year. 

Other brands which had their day and then went off in search of greener pastures include: 

  • Mitsubishi, 
  • Nissan, 
  • Renault, 
  • Rootes, 
  • Volkswagen and 
  • Western Star. 

There are quite some small-scale companies churning out small cars. They are too many to list here. While things are just not the same as in the heyday of Australian vehicles, there are still plenty of cars that you can buy on a shoestring budget. 

Take Holden, for example. The peak of this brand culminated in the Commodore. This Aussie brand was the talk of the town. Then there is also the Holden Acadia SUV. The Holden HSV had some pickup trucks and muscle cars worthy of putting fuel in and taking for a spin in the bush country. Moving on, there is the FPV. This was a high-performance brand of a vehicle from Ford Australia. 

The natives of Australia are thankful to Ford for the significant number of cars it brought to their land. The A9X Torana and XY GT Falcon are two examples. 

Then coming to Toyota Australia, it is simply unmatchable. The Tiaras have always been the stuff that dreams are made of. 

As far as sports vehicles are concerned, the name Elfin stands out among the rest. The earliest by far, it dates back to the 50s. The T5 Clubman was an invincible car. The 1990s saw the rise of the Iveco. Today, the PowerStar is its top-selling model. 

The only problem is that all these manufacturers and carmakers packed up their bags and left for brighter prospects a long time ago. The question to ask ourselves is, what went wrong? Was the market not conducive to brand growth and profit-making? Or was it a case of the climate being just not suitable for these vehicles? 

Brands such as GM, Ford and Holden all helped guide the Australian economy at a time of crisis in the right direction. Then why did these big businesses have to call it a day? Well, a time came when the Australian market was chock-a-block with foreign brands of vehicles. Thus local talent all just evaporated. The flashy and fancy imported models were so attractive to car lovers that the local cars didn’t stand a chance. That is what happened. Yet still, a large segment of local vehicles remains, although they are not that famous. 

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