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Automotive Vehicle Manufacturing

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Automotive Vehicle Manufacturing sector, which is one component of the Automotive industry.

Automotive manufacturing traditionally had two components:

  • Bus, truck and vehicle body and trailer manufacturing. This includes the manufacture of specialised vehicles such as fire engines, street sweepers and emergency service vehicles
  • Passenger vehicle manufacturing which also includes the manufacture of component supplies. However, local passenger vehicle manufacturing has ceased in Australia since the end of 2017. This has flow on effects to component manufacturing. 

Nationally recognised training for Automotive Vehicle Manufacturing is delivered under the AUM - Automotive Manufacturing Training Package.

For information on other automotive related industry sectors, visit the Automotive cluster page.

For information on other manufacturing related industries visit the Manufacturing and Related Services cluster page, and the Food and Pharmaceutical Production cluster page.

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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

According to census figures, employment numbers in many transport related manufacturing sectors declined radically between 2006 and 2016. In total, in the industry classes represented, employment numbers dropped from 79,265 in 2002 to 44,906 in 2016. The largest two industry classes, Motor Vehicle Manufacturing and Other Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing, have declined by a half or more over this period. Given the closure of car manufacturing plants in Australia, these numbers are expected to decline even further.

Employment projections to 2024 in occupations involved in this industry class are mixed, with slight increases expected for Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers, Metal Fitters and Machinists, and Vehicle Body Builders and Trimmers. Slight decreases are projected for Product Assemblers, Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers, and Production Managers.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Enrolments in Automotive Manufacturing-related qualifications have decreased between 2019 and 2020, with approximately 390 enrolments recorded in 2020, down from around 520 in 2019. Program completions have also decreased from roughly 120 in 2019 to 80 in 2020. The proportion of subjects delivered as part of a nationally recognised program has remained steady at around 99% between 2016 and 2020.

The majority of program enrolments occurred at the certificate III level (92%) in 2020. These enrolments were mainly within the Certificate III in Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations – Bus, Truck and Trailer (98%), and had the intended occupation of a Vehicle Body Builder. The remaining enrolments (8%) were within the Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing Production - Bus, Truck and Trailer, had the intended occupation of Product Assembler.

In 2020, all training (100%) for these courses was delivered by TAFE institutes. Almost all subjects were Commonwealth and state funded (98%), with the remainder funded by domestic fee for service arrangements.

Enrolments were mainly from students residing in New South Wales (32%), Western Australia (32%), Queensland (24%) and Victoria (12%) during 2020. Training was mainly delivered in Western Australia (32%), New South Wales (31%), Queensland (25%) and Victoria (12%).

After experiencing a period of steady decline, apprenticeship and traineeship commencements and completions both increased slightly in 2018 to 170 and 70 respectively but have declined again since to roughly 130 and 60 respectively in 2020. The apprenticeships and traineeships had the main intended occupation of Vehicle Body Builder. The largest proportion of training was reported by New South Wales (33%), followed by Western Australia (32%), Queensland (23%) and Victoria (13%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

 

The Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast ranks a list of generic skills in order of importance for each industry sector. The top five ranked generic skills for the Automotive Light Vehicle sector (inclusive of mass passenger vehicle manufacturing) are:

  • Technology use and application
  • Language, literacy and numeracy (LLN)
  • Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems
  • Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
  • Communication/Collaboration including virtual collaboration/Social intelligence.

In addition, the Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast also ranked a list of generic skills in order of importance for the Automotive Heavy Vehicle sector (inclusive of heavy vehicle manufacturing):

  • Language, literacy and numeracy (LLN)
  • Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
  • Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems
  • Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Technology use and application.

The Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast highlights expected increases in the demand for commercial vehicles, largely fuelled by forecast growth in mining and heavy industry construction along with growth in heavy vehicle transport. The final Motor Vehicle Census, relating to vehicles which were registered on 31st January 2021, finds that light rigid trucks have continued to have the largest growth rate in registrations, increasing 6.0%, followed by articulated trucks with 4.6%, and light commercial vehicle registrations increased by 3.3%, rising to 17.5% of the registered fleet. While major local passenger vehicle manufacturing ceased in Australia at end of 2017, there is still significant vehicle manufacturing continuing in Australia. IBISWorld states the largest vehicle manufacturers in Australia are now Volvo, PACCAR (Kenworth) and CNH Industrial Australia (IVECO), manufacturing trucks. However, IVECO has announced it will be moving to fully importing its range from the end of June 2022 and focus on customisation for the local market. The 2021 State of Electric Vehicles includes a list of four bus and seven commercial vehicle manufacturers that are producing electric vehicles in Australia.

The Australian Government Department of Defence land vehicle procurement program has several projects that involve the manufacture and assembly of components in Australia. For example, the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle and Hawkei are manufactured in Bendigo, Victoria, and 1,799 trailers for use with the G‑Wagons are being made in Rocklea, Queensland. Thales: Value and Impact Study of Australian Supply Chain states the company spent $157m on procurement for Protected Vehicles, and more than 1,500 small and medium enterprises comprised 82% of all Thales’s Australian suppliers in 2020. The Office of Defence Industry Support was officially launched 26 November 2021, which will be used by Defence and major contractors to find Australian solutions to capability challenges among small and medium businesses and help businesses enter the defence market. The government has also provided Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority (SICP) grants since 2018, enabling businesses to improve their manufacturing capabilities.

The New South Wales Government has released a strategy to replace its bus fleet with to zero emissions buses by 2030. The strategy includes an aim to meeting natural replacement needs in the 2021-22 calendar years while building industry readiness for an increased take up of vehicles from 2023, and a peak delivery of 1,200 to 1,300 buses in later years. The strategy also notes that while this may provide opportunities for local industry development, manufacturers may need to look to other markets including interstate and overseas, diversify manufacturing and product range to include other vehicle types or face periods of ramping-up and ramping-down production, with likely reduced demand for around 10 to 15 years between replacement cycles. 

The findings of the Australian Automotive Industry Report, which presents an analysis of the outcomes for the automotive supply chain, indicate that of those businesses that participated in the Automotive Transition Scheme, about 75% remain in business, albeit with reduced workforces. For example, the data suggests that the increased activity in ‘other automotive’ manufacturing has provided some motor vehicle automotive firms an avenue for diversification, particularly into ‘body and trailer’ manufacturing. There are also a number of automotive supply chain companies that have diversified into truck component manufacturing.

Links and resources

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

 

IRC and skills forecasts

The two relevant Industry Reference Committees are the Automotive Light Vehicle Industry Reference Committee and the Automotive Heavy Vehicle Reference Committee

 

Relevant research

Australian Automotive Industry: Transition Following the End of Australian Motor Vehicle Production – Australia. Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Australian Businesses Building our Sovereign Defence Industry – Australia. Department of Defence

Bushmaster – Australian Army

Defence Projects: Land – Australia. Department of Defence

G Wagon – Australian Army

Hawkei – Thales Australia

IVECO Manufacturing Announcements – IVECO

Motor Vehicle Census, Australia – Australian Bureau of Statistics

Motor Vehicle Manufacturing in Australia – IBISWorld

Office of Defence Industry Support open for business – Australia. Department of Defence

State of Electric Vehicles, August 2021 – Electric Vehicle Council

Thales: Value and Impact Study of Australian Supply Chain – Accenture and Thales Australia

Zero Emission Bus Transition Strategy – Transport for NSW

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Association of Australasian Diesel Specialists Inc (AADS)

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Australian Industry Group (AiGroup)

Automotive Products Manufacturing and Exporters Council (APMEC)

Business Council of Australia

Bus Industry Confederation (BIC)

Commercial Vehicle Industry Association Australia (CVIAA)

Construction and Mining Equipment Industry Group (CMEIG)

Farm and Industrial Machinery Dealers Association of Australia

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia

Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers (IAME)

Motor Traders’ Association of New South Wales (MTA NSW)

Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA)

Motor Trades Association of Australian Capital Territory (MTA ACT)

Motor Trades Association of Queensland (MTA Queensland)

Motor Trade Association of South Australia and Northern Territory (MTA SA/NT)

Motor Trade Association of Western Australia (MTA WA)

Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia (SAE-A)

Tasmanian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (TACC)

Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia (TMA)

Truck Industry Council (TIC)

Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC)

 

Employee associations

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union

 

Regulator

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • 1335 Production Managers
    • 2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers
    • 3223 Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers
    • 3232 Metal Fitters and Machinists
    • 3242 Vehicle Body Builders and Trimmers
    • 8322 Product Assemblers.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, 2006 Census –labour force, TableBuilder. 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
    • 2461 Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing
    • 2462 Mining and Construction Machinery Manufacturing
    • 2491 Lifting and Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing.
  • and 4 digit ANZSCO
    • 1335 Production Managers
    • 2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers
    • 3223 Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers
    • 3232 Metal Fitters and Machinists
    • 3242 Vehicle Body Builders and Trimmers
    • 8322 Product Assemblers.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • AUM Automotive Manufacturing Training Package.
  • Automotive Manufacturing Production - Bus, Truck and Trailer
    • AUM20212 - Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing Production - Bus, Truck and Trailer
    • AUM20213 - Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing Production - Bus, Truck and Trailer
    • AUM20218 - Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing Production - Bus, Truck and Trailer
    • AUM25101 - Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing (Bus, Truck & Trailer)
    • AUM25108 - Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing (Bus/Truck/Trailer)
    • AUM35108 - Certificate III in Automotive Manufacturing (Bus/Truck/Trailer).
  • Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations - Bus, Truck and Trailer
    • AUM30212 - All Qualifications
    • AUM30213 - Certificate III in Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations - Bus, Truck and Trailer.
    • AUM30218 - Certificate III in Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations - Bus, Truck and Trailer.
  • Certificate III in Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations - Passenger Motor Vehicle
    • AUM30112 - Certificate III in Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations - Passenger Motor Vehicle.
  • Passenger Motor Vehicle
    • AUM20108 - Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing (Passenger Motor Vehicle)
    • AUM20112 - Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing Production - Passenger Motor Vehicle
    • AUM20113 - Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing Production - Passenger Motor Vehicle
    • AUM20118 - Certificate II in Automotive Manufacturing Production - Passenger Motor Vehicle.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 program completions.

 

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.  This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

AUM Automotive Manufacturing Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.
Updated: 19 Jan 2022
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