The government (Australian worker's tax dollars) subsidised nearly 50% of the new model development.
From the news.com.au article on 28 Apr 2015 under the headline:
Toyota Camry: last car to be made in Australia starts production in Altona plant
Ford is due to close its Broadmeadows and Geelong factories in October 2016, about one year before Holden shuts its Elizabeth assembly line near Adelaide.
But Japanese giant Toyota will be the last of the three to lock its factory gates at the end of 2017 — and this new Camry is the model that will take the company and the industry to the end of the line.
“We are 100 per cent categorically, absolutely, committed to continuing production until the end of 2017,” said Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner.
Despite the imminent closure, Toyota says its 2500 factory workers are determined to go out on a high.
“When the gates shut for the last time, I know I can hold my head high knowing I’ve done my best,” said Robert Cook, a technical officer on the production line that will build 90,000 cars this year, about twice as many as Holden and five times as many as Ford.
The Toyota Camry has been Australia’s top-selling medium-size sedan for 21 years but 70 per cent of the vehicles made locally are exported to the Middle East.
Ford Falcon and the same year the EH Holden came out — and more than 2 million vehicles have been made in Altona since the factory opened in 1995.
When local production ends, Toyota will likely import the next generation Camry from Thailand, which has a Free Trade Agreement with Australia and is now the second biggest source of vehicles sold locally after Japan and ahead of South Korea.
“It’s a bitter sweet experience,” said Mr Buttner. “Bitter in that it will be the last product we build in Australia … but the other feeling is of great pride, when you see the commitment and absolute passion and dedication of every worker on the production line.”
Toyota says it has started retraining its workers for life after manufacturing and up to 90 per cent of blue collar staff had taken up the offer to develop new skills.
“We are actively looking across Victoria: where are the jobs, are they in construction, hospitality, healthcare, what’s the average weekly wage, what’s the entry qualifications,” said Mr Buttner.
“We’ve now started developing one-on-one transition plans for every employee. We will pay for the training, we will assist with any literacy skills people may require, writing resumes, and so on.”
Customarily, only minor revisions are made at this point in the car’s model cycle.
But with more than 800 new parts, it is the biggest facelift in the Camry’s history. Every panel except the roof is new.
The new model cost $108 million to develop, including $23.6 million from the Federal Government and a smaller, undisclosed sum from the Victorian Government.
Once production ramps up, the new Camry is due to arrive in local showrooms from next month.