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IMPORTATION OF PARTS. ASSEMBLY WORKS AT PETONE. PLAN TO REDUCE COSTS. COMPETITION WITH BRITAIN. [BY TELEGRAPH. —OWN CORRESPONDED?. ] WELLIN GTON. "Wednesday. An important development in the supply of American motor-cars in Now Zealand has been undertaken by General Motors (N.Z.), Ltd. The firm is setting up works at Petone at which parts imported in bulk will be .assembled and the finished cars placed on the road at a cost considerably lower than that at which complete cars can be landed. Some weeks ago an area of between four and five acres of Crown land at. Petone was made to agents of the recently registered firm of General Motors (N.Z.), Ltd., which has a nominal capita] of £50,000. Developments upon a very large scale are already in train. Car assembly work is not altogether new to the Dominion, for the Ford Company is already carrying out such work, or, per haps, more correctly, the completion of assembly at Wellington and Timaru, after importing boxed chassis, boxed engines and nested bodies. General Motors propose to import their car parts more directly from the machine rooms of overseas factories packed to the smallest economical space, and to place them upon " efficiency-routed " conveyors to be riveted, bolted and fitted into the machine that runs from the final working stage ready for tbi road. Large Buildings Planned. Preparation of site will be commenced almost immediately, and the erection of Che buildings will follow upon the arrival of material. Steel construction will be used practically throughout, "ready-to-build" wall, girden and roof parts being imported from America. Two main buildings are planned, the larger of which, with a floor area of 80,000 square feat, will be the largest single floor—except temporary exhibition buildings—in the Dominion. Tho American firm of General Motors is one of tho most powerful motor concerns in the world, handling several well-known makes of cars: Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Oakland, Chevrolet and G.M. and Chevrolet trucks, and has also recently extended its .interests to English cars, having taken over the Vauxhall works. If General Motors (N.Z.), Ltd., handles these cars through its Petone assembly works and also through its own selling organisation—and it is stated that the contracts held by agents expire about the middle of the year—it 4 must take a very large share of the New Zealand motor business. Tho British Makers' Position. During; the war years the British car manufacturer had other work to do, and when release from war duties came, he found his markets in the Dominions andtha colonies largely gone,, and, furthermore, that the overseas motor trader, having been unable to obtain cars from Britain, and doubtful of the prospects, Had definitely committed himselef for a year, two years or more ahead. Not only that, but th» English maker, to cope with war-time work, had enlarged his factories and carried a heavier burden of capital costs than ever before the war. The recovery of the English car on the New Zealand market has been proportionately rapid, but in numbers imported the English car has a very long way to go to gain the market. In the last four years the importations were as follow : British. Canadian. Other. 1922 , . 162 1.908 1,376 1923 .. 495 ■ 7.349 4.458 1924 . . 1,015 10.313 4.326 1925* . . 2,606 7,180 6,751 * 11 months. Under the existing tariff, the British car is at ,an advantage as compared with the (imported complete) American car, the preferential duty being 10 per cent. "The tariff has two objects," said a leading Wellington business man, "to encourage and protect local industry and to give preference to British goods. In the first regard, it has failed, for tiie body-building industry is in a state of stagnation. Australia's tariff very de finitely encourages the body-building industry and far more chassis than cars fjre annually imported into Australia. The reverse is the case in New Zealand. In 1906 there were employed in cachbuilding and wheelwright trades 1465 workers ; in 1924 the number of men employed upon coachbuilding, wheeiwrighting and car and truck body-building had fallen to 1302. In Australia in 1906, 3350 hands were employed in the car body building business; in 1924 14,718 wore so employed. Whereas the increase in tho v%lue of the Australian product was over ninefold, the increase in the New Zealand industry was less than threefold. Eflect of Preferential Tarifl. "The tariff, together with British efforts to meet the market and the natural British preference for British goods has," he contnued, "certainly achieved some measure of success. It is that very success of the British manufacturer that the Americans have set out to combat " Taking, the case of a certain wellknown car, he worked out comparative costs under different methods of importation, his figuring bringing him to the cond' sion ihat, by importing this car unassembled, there would be (over the same car imported assembled) a saving of £4 13s on pacing, £lO in freight and £1? in duty, a total of £3l 13s. Imported through Canada, the American unassembled car would show a total saving o f approximately £22 over the British assembled car, of which about £lO would be in duty. "Ons of the greatest obstacles which the British manufacturer must face is the use which the American manufacturer makes of Canada," he remarked. "In a few months we will have many more cars coming to New Zealand from Canada from just over the border as British goods, and there is a distinct probability that others again will be forced into the position of adopting the same policy. Yet all the capital and interests are purely American. A great deal will depend upon the interpretation which will in future he placed upon the clauses of the Customs Act as to such importations through Canada, but whatever should be that interpretation, the English car manufacturer is faced with one of the sharpest fights he has ever i had to undertake." f

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NEW MOTOR INDUSTRY., New Zealand Herald, Volume LXIII, Issue 19231, 21 January 1926

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NEW MOTOR INDUSTRY. New Zealand Herald, Volume LXIII, Issue 19231, 21 January 1926