BIC, Opinion

BIC wants procurement model focus following Mercedes-Benz pause

After the news of Mercedes-Benz’s pause in Australian operations, the BIC is urging governments to help protect the future of the local bus and coach manufacturing industry

Following the shock news in late February that major global bus and coach brand Mercedes-Benz is pausing its Australian operations, the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) is taking action.

The BIC says it has called on both state and the federal governments to take action to ensure the bus and coach industry is effectively supported.

“The BIC believes that the key to the industry’s long-term success is the implementation of procurement models that provide manufacturers with greater long-term certainty and more consistent levels of demand,” the BIC says.

With local manufacturing jobs at risk due to the halt in local bus and coach sales from Mercedes-Benz, the BIC says the announcement highlights the fragility in the local bus and coach manufacturing sector.

“The company’s decision is likely to have significant implications for local manufacturing and jobs,” the BIC says.

“There can be up to 40 manufacturing and parts supply companies that contribute to the final assembly of a single bus.

“Despite state governments transitioning fleets to zero emission buses there is no clearly defined industry roadmap to provide certainty for manufacturers looking to support the transition. This uncertainty is compounded by inflation, supply chain issues, wage growth and skill shortages.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Mercedes-Benz Bus pauses Australian operations

In a recent federal budget submission, the BIC called for a national procurement plan to provide manufacturers with a clear roadmap for the future to help them make strategic investments and plan for future growth.

To support the industry and create more jobs, the BIC is urging state governments to review and standardise buy local policies across the industry – particularly for products that are manufactured in Australia.

The BIC says standardising buy local policies would help manufacturers and state governments forward plan for peaks in product demand.

This planning could in-turn support bus and coach industry and service providers with a clearer pathway to transition to zero emissions vehicles.

“The BIC is committed to working with its members to find ways to minimize the impact of this announcement and to support the industry during this time of significant change in the transition to zero-emission buses and coaches,” the BIC says.  

“We will continue to advocate for policies that support the bus and coach industry and help the industry thrive for years to come.”

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