07.11.13 - BRW: Tomcar Australia says car grants should support innovation, not manufacturing
"Government bailouts of car manufacturers that are not innovative is a waste of taxpayer money says Tomcar Australia chief executive David Brim.
The Melbourne start-up today became world's first equipment car manufacturer to accept Bitcoins, through a partnership with Bitcoin payments provider CoinJar.
The Tomcar was originally an Israeli military vehicle. Brim, the co-founder of Tomcar Australia, says his company bought the rights to manufacturer the cars in Australia from the Israelis, and made slight improvements to the cars before selling them locally.
Tomcar Australia is now manufacturing the cars here and in other countries outside of Israel. Brim says his company outsources manufacturing to MtM, a tier-one automotive components supplier based in Melbourne.
Despite his company creating local jobs, it is unable to get government grants like major companies like Holden and Ford do, because it outsources the manufacturing and it is not therefore seen as direct capital expenditure.
Instead Tomcar accesses R&D tax concessions. But Brim says this is small, compared to the millions of dollars of grants that the big guys get.
"There's many ways that governments can improve and reinvigorate the car industry," Brim says. "Australia's future is in niche manufacturing. It's not in mass production. Australia is never going to be able to compete with Thailand on general car manufacturing. Where we can compete is in high-quality production."
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