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Automotive

Overview

This page provides high level information and data on the Automotive industry.

The Automotive industry is broad and encompasses a variety of activities and businesses. These activities include repair and service of vehicles; retailing of vehicles; parts and tools; repair, maintenance, repair and service of bicycles, outdoor power equipment, marine vessels and motorcycles; and some non-car manufacturing.

Detail of the various sectors of the Automotive industry can be found on the following pages: 

Nationally recognised training for Automotive is delivered under the AUM Automotive Manufacturing Training Package and AUR Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package.

The relevant skills forecast for the Automotive industry is the Automotive Industry Skills Forecast and the relevant Skills Service Organisation is PwC’s Skills for Australia Skills Service Organisation

There are five Industry Reference Committees covering the Automotive industry. They are:

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

The census data indicates that in 2016 across all industry classes that have relevance to the Automotive industry there were just over 390,000 people employed. This figure is prior to the closure of the car manufacturing plants which will have some impact on this number.

The report, Directions in Australia’s automotive industry: an industry report 2017 forecasts some decline in numbers in the industry through to 2018/19, the end of their forecast period. They also calculated that 88% of the decline in numbers in the industry is as a direct result of the closure of car manufacturing plants in Australia.   

It should be noted that some of the industry classes used to calculate the employment number from the 2016 census include activities that may lie outside of the Automotive industry, so the total employment number should be seen as indicative only. The precise industry classes used to calculate the employment number are shown in the data notes. More information on employment is shown in the sector pages.

There were 55,602 program enrolments across the two automotive related training packages in 2016, down from 62,895 in 2014. The vast majority of enrolments were in the Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package. Program completions have also declined from 2014 (17,582) to 2016 (15,759). For further breakdowns of the training data, please visit the sector pages.

As with program enrolments, the vast majority of apprentice and trainee commencements and completions were in the Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package.  Apprentice and trainee commencements have been on the decline since 2012 and completions have declined since 2014.

 

Industry insights on skills needs

The Automotive industry is diverse and as such reflects differing skill needs. Despite the closure of the car manufacturing plants in Australia during 2017, there are still skill shortages across the breadth of the Automotive industry. The report, Directions in Australia’s automotive industry: an industry report 2017 estimates that nationally there will be a skills shortage of over 35,000 workers in the Automotive industry in 2017–18 and over 31,000 in 2018–19. This covers a diverse range of occupations. The largest skill shortages, covering about 85% of the overall forecast shortages for 2018/2019 are in the following occupations:

  • Light Vehicle Mechanic                  (projected shortage of 14,799 workers)
  • Vehicle Spray Painter                      (2,653)
  • Panel Beater                                     (2,634)
  • Motor Vehicle Salesperson           (2,565)
  • Heavy Vehicle Mechanic               (2,256)
  • Automotive Electrician                   (1,749)

The report also points out future skill needs of the industry in light of changes in technology, and in particular the greater uptake of electric, connected and autonomous vehicles. This has implications for upskilling in areas such as the software, coding and programming of these vehicles. There will also be a need for skills related to specialised functions in these vehicles. This skill needs are also reflected in the Automotive Industry Skills Forecast.

The Automotive Industry Skills Forecast 2017 provides a summary of the macro trends influencing the sector:

  • Technological change – This relates to changing automotive products, service delivery and consumer needs. This has consequent implication for skill needs and the training required for technicians.
  • Structural change – The industry has been faced with the closure of car plants and increased numbers of imports. There are also cost pressures on industry and variations in demand given the interdependencies to other sectors of the economy (such as mining, agriculture, construction and retail). This means there may be an increase in demand for technicians that can undertake a variety of roles.
  • Consumer preferences – Trends influencing the industry in this regards include concern for the environment, ageing of the population, increased discretionary income and technologically advanced vehicles.
  • The regulatory environment – The automotive industry operates within a regulatory environment which impacts on the operation of the industry. This requires skills in service and repair that involves technology stemming from emissions control and also knowledge and understanding of regulation and regulatory changes.

Transferability of skills is also an important consideration in the Automotive industry, both across sectors of the industry and also outside of the industry given restructuring in the industry.

The report The occupational mobility and skills transferability of Australian auto industry employees found that automotive production workers had a variety of skills, specific and generic, that are transferable across industries. Non-production related automotive workers were found to have skills that were more likely to be transferable across occupations as they had less automotive specific skills.

The sector pages provide more information on skill priorities for individual sectors.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Refrigeration Council

Association of Australasian Diesel Specialists

Australian Association of Progressive Repairers

Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association

Australian Automotive Recyclers Association

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Australian Industry Group

Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Australian Motor Body Repairers Association

Australian Tyre Dealers and Retreaders Association

Auto Parts Recyclers Association of Australia

Auto Recyclers Association of Australia

Automotive Air Conditioning, Electrical and Cooling Technicians of Australasia

Bicycle Industries Australia

Boating Industries Alliance Australia

Boating Industry Association of Australia (The National Association has representatives from each participating State and Territory)

Boating Industry Association of Victoria

Boating Industry Association of Western Australia

Bus Industry Confederation

Business Council of Australia

Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Australia

Construction and Mining Equipment Industry Group

Cycling ACT

Cycling Australia

Cycling New South Wales

Cycling Northern Territory

Cycling Queensland

Cycling South Australia

Cycling Tasmania

Cycling Victoria

Cycling Western Australia

Farm and Industrial Machinery Dealers Association of Australia

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia

Institute of Accident Assessors

Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers

Marine Queensland

Motor Trade Association of South Australia

Motor Trade Association of Western Australia

Motor Traders’ Association of New South Wales

Motor Trades Association of ACT

Motor Trades Association of Australia

Motor Trades Association of Queensland

Motor Trades Association of the Northern Territory

Outdoor Power Equipment Association

SAE-Australasia

Society of Automotive Engineers

Tasmanian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia

Truck Industry Council

Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

 

Employee Associations

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union

 

Regulator

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator

 

Relevant research

Directions in Australia’s automotive industry: an industry report 2017 – Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

The occupational mobility and skills transferability of Australian auto industry employees – Snell D, Gekara V & Schermuly A 2017

Data resources and notes

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 4 digit ANZSIC,
    • 2311 Motor Vehicle Manufacturing
    • 2312 Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing
    • 2313 Automotive Electrical Component Manufacturing
    • 2319 Other Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing
    • 2399 Other Transport Equipment Manufacturing n.e.c.
    • 2461 Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing
    • 2462 Mining and Construction Machinery Manufacturing
    • 2491 Lifting and Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing
    • 3501 Car Wholesaling
    • 3502 Commercial Vehicle Wholesaling
    • 3503 Trailer and Other Motor Vehicle Wholesaling
    • 3504 Motor Vehicle New Parts Wholesaling
    • 3505 Motor Vehicle Dismantling and Used Parts Wholesaling
    • 3911 Car Retailing
    • 3912 Motorcycle Retailing
    • 3913 Trailer and Other Motor Vehicle Retailing
    • 3921 Motor Vehicle Parts Retailing
    • 3922 Tyre Retailing
    • 4000 Fuel Retailing
    • 4231 Hardware and Building Supplies Retailing
    • 4231 Hardware and Building Supplies Retailing
    • 4241 Sport and Camping Equipment Retailing
    • 4241 Sport and Camping Equipment Retailing
    • 4245 Marine Equipment Retailing
    • 4245 Marine Equipment Retailing
    • 9411 Automotive Electrical Services
    • 9412 Automotive Body, Paint and Interior repair
    • 9419 Other Automotive Repair and Maintenance
    • 9419 Other Automotive Repair and Maintenance
    • 9429 Other Machinery and Equipment Repair and Maintenance
    • 9429 Other Machinery and Equipment Repair and Maintenance

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses, 2016 Program Enrolments by AUM Automotive Industry Manufacturing Training Package and AUR Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package.

AUM Automotive Manufacturing Training Package, and AUR Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection.

Updated: 17 Sep 2018
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