Are you REALLY in control of your own Destiny?

G’day all

I want to chat today about an announcement in the news this week which I believe highlights two issues, one in Australia’s economic and political landscape, and another, much closer to home –our own security.

The announcement this week of the closure of Holden and the brand in Australia/NZ has certainly sent shockwaves through what is left of our Automotive industry in this country.

To lay my cards on the table, this is a subject that is near and dear to me, having been a Holden fan all my life, and worked for the ‘Lion” for almost 16 years.

It certainly was a sad day Monday to hear about the demise of a company I had a lot of fondness and loyalty for, worked hard for and bled for…but I cannot say the announcement shocked me.

For those who understand the automotive industry and kept an eye on GM’s worldwide activities, and Holden’s sales, particularly over the past few years, this certainly wouldn’t have been a surprise

GM had exited all other right-hand drive markets over the past few years and had no RHD vehicles in the pipeline. Holden sales had plummeted to all-time lows, and January’s results indicated an even worse year to come.

Great Wall put its hand up to buy GM’s Thailand plants where Colorado’s are built (one of the few remaining successful nameplates left of Holden, so the final nail in the coffin was driven home.

Anyway, back to my points…

Firstly, the government’s response, and a ‘surprised’ Prime Ministers indignant claim that GM and Holden had somehow ‘played’ the Australia taxpayer out of millions in funding and grants over the years.  Once again, it seems that Scott Morrison seems to have missed the target and focusing on the completely wrong areas here…

Instead of whining and complaining about the cost of industry assistance, he has completely ignored the return on investment Australia received from the car industry.

Australia got plenty from GM Holden and the other carmakers in return for the billions in assistance over the years, including capital investments that tally many times that amount.

And more valuable again were the benefits in terms of employment, both in-house and in the parts industry, continuing technological development on the production lines and in many other aspects of the wider industry.

I was speaking just earlier this week with business owner who started his career with Air International, a very well-known supplier to the Automotive industry in Australia, and he said he owned his current success (now owns an 8 figure software development company based right here in Melbourne) to what he learnt during his time in Automotive.  How many more are like this?  I know I am one…

To imply that Australia got nothing out of its support for the car industry is just plain incorrect. It demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the importance of manufacturing and of the concept of Return On Investment, where a manufacturer can take a $2 piece of steel and make a $20 component.

Critics continually harp on about the taxpayer subsidies, conveniently ignoring those larger but less-visible subsidies given to the mining and banking sectors.

The last Automotive plan was $300 million per year available to car makers and parts suppliers who employed over 50,000 people, who if earning only an average wage, would have been contributing around $1.3 Billion a year to income tax alone…never mind what they spent on housing, living expenses, entertainment etc.

No, Australia’s Return on Investment for its Automotive industry was excellent.  Maybe time for some new advisors Mr Morrison…

The second lesson learnt here though, is one much closer to our own hearts, and that is one of security.  Even when things are marching along smoothly, we all can find that we are not really in control of our own destinies

Do we really make the decisions in our life, or do we all have that ‘big brother’ who can pull the pin on us at any time?  Even though in the case of Holden, the writing may have been on the wall, Australia, and all the employees are completely at the mercy of another who is really pulling the strings – evidenced by the ‘shell shocked’ Holden MD – Kristian Aquilina’s interview on ABC this week.

Even when things seem to be going along nicely, and we appear to be kicking goals, all it takes is that ‘puppeteer’ to decide they have had enough of this game and shut it down.  All the work you have done, everything you have achieve can suddenly be gone in minute.

I was one on the lucky ones, able to build my own business and be at a point where I am completely in charge of my own destiny now.  I was able to leave my role at Holden (as much as I enjoyed it) and forge my own path, BEFORE someone was able to shut me down.  Around 800 or so employees there right now, are not that lucky…

I just want to stress… don’t wait for that decision to come and completely knock you down before you do something…

They say the universe always sends three signals; a feather, a slap and a brick…

Holden’s closure this week is the Brick.  Don’t wait for the brick before you make a decision to control your own destiny, your own life and not be at the behest of someone else, pulling the strings…

Happy Investing all! And have a great weekend!!