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AUSTRALIAN MOTOR INDUSTRIES (AMI) was an automobile assembly firm that was significant in the early history of the automotive industry in Australia
Australia
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Start of production * 2 Reorganization * 3 Operations with AMC * 4 Toyota
Toyota
and buyout * 5 Notes * 6 Further reading * 7 External links

START OF PRODUCTION

The Standard Vanguard was produced by AMI from 1958 to 1964

The origins of Australian Motor Industries
Australian Motor Industries
can be traced back to 1926 when J.F. Crosby decided to invest in Eclipse Motors Pty Ltd of Melbourne. In 1929 the company secured the Victorian agency for Standard Motor Company
Standard Motor Company
's cars, then changed the company name to Talbot and Standard Motors, and began a steady period of expansion with the Standard marque through the 1930s. In 1952 the Crosby family formed a holding company, Standard Motor Products Ltd, in co-operation with the Standard Motor Company
Standard Motor Company
of England to assemble cars at their new assembly plant in Port Melbourne. The subsidiary company responsible for vehicle assembly was the Standard Motor Company (Australia) Limited.

Import tariffs on vehicles encouraged the growth of the Australian vehicle body building industry from the early 1920s. The tax concessions varied with the degree of local content.

Changes within the industry saw the consolidation of the principal manufacturers and the demise of the smaller body builders. The Port Melbourne assembly plant was one of many new facilities which were set up to meet the post war demand for new vehicles. By 1955 the assembly complex had expanded to 33 acres (0.13 km2; 0.052 sq mi) of land and the new engine assembly plant had a capacity of 100 engines per eight-hour shift.

Standard Motor Products Ltd was unusual in the Australian motor industry because of the high Australian shareholding of the company; 88% in 1952 when the Australian company bought out its English partner. The remaining shares were held by the Standard Motor Company UK. As a sign of the close co-operation between the two companies, Sir John Black was made president of SMP and Arthur F. Crosby remained as chairman. His brother, Clive C. Crosby, became the managing director.

In 1958 the company negotiated an agreement with Daimler-Benz
Daimler-Benz
to assemble and distribute Mercedes Benz vehicles in Australia. In recognition of this new agreement the company was renamed Australian Motor Industries and a new subsidiary company was formed to handle the Mercedes Benz franchise.

Through its long association with the Standard Motor Company, AMI also held the franchise for Triumph cars and assembled Ferguson tractors through another subsidiary company of the group, British Farm Equipment. An extensive dealer network throughout NSW and Victoria saw Standard cars and Ferguson tractors sold side by side in country areas. The most popular car sold was the Vanguard model.

REORGANIZATION

1961 Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
220SEb assembled by AMI

In October 1960, AMI signed an agreement with American Motors Corporation (AMC) to assemble the Rambler range of cars from complete knock down (CKD) kits. Another deal with Fiat
Fiat
was planned to replace the Ferguson tractors distributed by BFE. The Standard Motor Company had sold their tractor facility in Coventry to Massey Ferguson
Massey Ferguson
and focused on automobile production.

AMI ran into financial trouble during the Australian credit squeeze of 1961 and the company was forced to sell off many assets and vehicle stock to remain solvent. Part of the restructure resulted in the sale of their share in the Mercedes Benz franchise to the German parent company.

In 1963 the company secured the Australian franchise for Toyota
Toyota
cars and began assembly of the Tiara range. From this point the financial position of the company steadily improved and by 1967 AMI was assembling 32 different models for the Australian market, as well as importing fully assembled Toyota
Toyota
Corollas for their dealer network.

Other cars assembled by AMI included the Rambler range from American Motors and Triumph cars from Leyland Motors
Leyland Motors
. Leyland had inherited shares in AMI when it had merged with Standard-Triumph International in 1961. During the early 1960s the foreign share of the automobile motor vehicle market was estimated to be 95%, and as the only sizeable producer with a local equity, AMI continued to manufacture overseas designs.

AMI assembled the Triumph Herald from 1959 to 1966 and produced some unique Australian models. The Triumph 2000/2500 range was assembled in Port Melbourne from 1964 to the mid-1970s.

By 1965, the demise of the Standard Vanguard and the loss of assembly rights for Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
vehicles left AMI with additional capacity to assemble Rambler , Triumph , and Toyota
Toyota
models.

OPERATIONS WITH AMC

Starting in 1960, AMI assembled a broad range of AMC cars, all with right-hand drive and carried the Rambler brand name. This meant that Australians could purchase a Rambler Javelin , AMX , Hornet , Rebel , or Matador long after the Rambler marque was dropped from use on the equivalent U.S.-market models.

Complete knock down
Complete knock down
kits were shipped from AMC's Kenosha, Wisconsin facility (all knock-down kits to all assembly operations were from Kenosha), but the Australian cars were assembled with a percentage of "local content" to gain tariff concessions. This was done using parts and components (such as seats, carpet, lights, and heaters) from local Australian suppliers. AMI specified what parts were not to be included in the unassembled kits sent by AMC. Other necessary parts specified by the assembler were boxed and shipped for assembly at the final destination in Australia. It is unknown exactly how many parts were included to be installed by the assembly operation, that varied with each operation. Outside colors were chosen by AMI and were the same as used on AMI assembled Triumph and Toyota
Toyota
cars of that period. The distinctive AMI exterior emblems were used on Ramblers, as well as Triumph and Toyota
Toyota
cars assembled by AMI from 1968 onward. 1969 Rambler AMX assembled by AMI

A total of 24 AMC AMXs , all 1969 models were made by AMI between August, 1969 and July, 1970. All featured the 343 cu in (5.6 L) V8s . Differences to the RHD two-seater AMXs compared to the U.S. models included swapping the power brake booster and heater motor on the firewall, the power steering pump remained in its usual left location, although the rest of the steering components had to be on the right side of the cars. All of the Australian AMX interiors were finished in black featuring a unique RHD dashboard with a wood-grained instrument cluster in front of the driver. While the AMX was marketed as a performance muscle car in the U.S. marketplace, the Australian AMXs came with a large high level of equipment that was optional in the U.S., and these AMXs were advertised as personal luxury cars . Interior of the only 1970 Rambler Gremlin assembled by AMI

One AMC Gremlin
AMC Gremlin
was also assembled AMI in Port Melbourne for evaluation purposes and branded as a "Rambler Gremlin". The car features the standard 232 cu in (3.8 L) I6 engine with three-speed manual transmission, as well as right-hand drive and the mandated percentage of locally produced content.

The Australian assembled Rebel was assembled from 1967 until 1971, even though the last year of the American model was 1970. 345 Rebels were assembled in 1970 and a further 307 in 1971. Australian Rebels were equipped with the round dials of the 1967 AMC Ambassador
AMC Ambassador
for all models and was continued with the 1971-1974 Australian assembled AMC Matador .

From 1971, Australian assembled Matadors were equipped with standard column shift automatic transmissions, power steering, power windows, air conditioning, and an AM radio. The engine in the later years was AMC's 360 cu in (5.9 L) V8 . Options included exterior sunvisor, vinyl roof cover, tow hitch , and mud flaps. Registrations for AMC vehicles dropped after 1974. A total of 118 Hornets and 145 Matadors (118 sedans, 27 wagons) were sold during 1974. Registrations for 1975 were 136 Hornets and 118 Matadors (85 sedans 33 wagons). In 1976 there were 88 Matadors (78 sedans, 10 wagons), while 1977 saw just 24 Matador sedans and 3 wagons. Additionally, Matador coupe CKD kits arrived in late-1974, and the assembly of 80 cars began in 1976. One fully assembled AMC Pacer
AMC Pacer
was imported for evaluation purposes.

American Motors
American Motors
cars were assembled in Port Melbourne by AMI up to 1978. The company retained a niche market as the sole U.S. sourced cars available in the Australian marketplace. For example, the Government of New South Wales
Government of New South Wales
selected the Rambler Rebel and the Matador as official vehicles in the 1970s.

TOYOTA AND BUYOUT

The Toyota
Toyota
Tiara was the first Toyota
Toyota
model assembled by AMI

The first Toyota
Toyota
car ever built outside Japan was assembled by AMI in April 1963, the Toyota
Toyota
Tiara . The AMI production of Toyotas expanded in the 1960s to also include the Crown, Corona, and Corolla assembled at AMI's Port Melbourne factory. Toyota
Toyota
Motor Corporation of Japan purchased 10% of outstanding AMI shares. As a fast-growing company, it took a controlling interest in AMI in 1968 as a contract with the British Leyland
British Leyland
Motor Corporation Ltd was signed. Toyota
Toyota
also purchased a 40% share in Thiess Holdings, an importer of light commercial vehicles, which it renamed Thiess Toyota.

Recognizing the majority owner of the company and the products that it manufactured and marketed, AMI renamed itself as AMI Toyota
Toyota
Ltd in 1985. The company continued to be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with a minority Australian shareholding until 1987, when Toyota
Toyota
moved to acquire the shares held by the remaining shareholders.

The Japanese company then amalgamated the company with its other Australian operations in 1989 to form two arms. Toyota
Toyota
Motor Corporation Australia
Australia
which was responsible for passenger vehicles and Toyota
Toyota
Motor Sales Australia
Australia
which was responsible for both Toyota commercial vehicles and Hino trucks.

Toyota
Toyota
vehicle production was transferred from the historic Port Melbourne factory to the company’s new $420 million facility at Altona, Victoria in 1994. The Australian facility now exports CKD kits to assembly plants in Thailand
Thailand
, Malaysia
Malaysia
, Indonesia
Indonesia
, Vietnam
Vietnam
, and the Philippines
Philippines
.

NOTES

* ^ A B Australian Motor Industries
Australian Motor Industries
golden jubilee 1926-1976. Australian Motor Industries. August 1976. * ^ A B The Australian encyclopaedia, Volume 7. Grolier Society of Australia. 1983. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-9596604-2-5 . * ^ Stubbs, Peter C. (1972). The Australian motor industry: a study in protection and growth. Cheshire for the Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne. p. 69. Retrieved 31 August 2014. * ^ Arndt, Heinz W.; Boxer, A. H. (1972). The Australian economy: a second volume of readings. Cheshire. ISBN 978-0-7015-1296-5 . * ^ "The Triumph 12/50 -- Australian Style". Vintage Triumph Register. 2005. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2014. * ^ Naesmith, Bruce (Sep–Oct 2006). "AMC Rambler in Australia, Part 2,". Restored Cars (178): 39. * ^ A B "Aussie AMC Rambler thread". The AMC Forum. 27 January 2008. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2014. * ^ Gilbert, Michael. "Australian Hornets". amchornet.com. Archived from the original on 29 August 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2014. * ^ A B " Australian Motor Industries
Australian Motor Industries
AMX". amx-perience.com. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014. * ^ A B Strohl, Daniel (12 October 2011). "Boomerang: The only Gremlin exported to Australia
Australia
returns to the United States". Hemmings Motor News. Retrieved 31 August 2014. * ^ Australian AMC production data: "Aussie AMC Rambler thread". The AMC Forum. 2008. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2014. * ^ "Historic Toyota
Toyota
Port Melbourne Plant Ends Operations (AU)". worldcarfans.com. 5 June 2006. Retrieved 31 August 2014. * ^ A B Chilton\'s automotive industries, Volume 145. Chilton Publishing. 1971. p. 19. Retrieved 31 August 2014. * ^ History of Toyota
Toyota
in Australia
Australia
Retrieved: 23 March 2015. * ^ " Toyota
Toyota
Produces Two-Millionth Locally Built Car". www.autoweb.com.au. 15 April 2004. Archived from the original on 24 June 2005. Retrieved 31 August 2014.

FURTHER READING

* Stubbs, Peter C. (1972). The Australian motor industry: a study in protection and growth. Cheshire for the Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne.