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Automotive Vehicle Manufacturing


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.

Information sourced from the Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.  

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

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

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 Vehicle Body Builders and Trimmers, Metal Fitters and Machinists, and Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers. Slight decreases are predicted for Production Managers, Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers, and Product Assemblers.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Enrolments in Automotive Manufacturing-related qualifications have continued to decline, with 460 enrolments recorded in 2018. Program completions increased slightly from 59 in 2017 to 86 in 2018. There were very few (10) subject only enrolments recorded in 2018. The majority of program enrolments occurred at the certificate III level (92%) which was within the Certificate III in Automotive Manufacturing Technical Operations – Bus, Truck and Trailer, and had the intended occupation of a Vehicle Body Builder.

In 2018, all training for these courses was delivered by TAFE institutes and almost all subjects were Commonwealth and state government funded (97%). Enrolments were mainly from students in New South Wales (30%), Western Australia (24%), Victoria (23%) and Queensland (22%). 

Training was mainly delivered in New South Wales (28%), Victoria (26%), Western Australia (24%) and Queensland (22%).

After experiencing a period of steady decline, apprenticeship commencements and completions have both increased slightly in 2018 to approximately 170 and 69 respectively. Whereas in 2017 there were 140 commencements and 64 completions. All the apprenticeships had the intended occupation of Vehicle Body Builder. The largest proportion of training was reported by New South Wales (38%), followed by Queensland (25%), Western Australia (23%) and Victoria (14%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

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. In 2018 motor vehicle census data identified light rigid trucks as the fastest growing vehicle type, with year on year growth of 5.1%. To support this anticipated growth, the industry will need workers who have the relevant skills and knowledge in heavy vehicle related sectors.

Mass passenger vehicle manufacturing in comparison, however, has undergone a significant contraction. It is well documented in the Directions in Australia’s Automotive Industry 2017 report that Australia’s car and component manufacturing industry sector has been greatly affected by the closure of its car manufacturing plants, resulting in job losses in this sector. The report also mentions that there are still positive business conditions in Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing and Bus, Truck and Trailer Manufacturing. Much of this is due to expenditure by state governments (mainly Victoria and Queensland) on rail replacement buses and trams. Additionally, fire suppression systems need to be installed on buses, trams and trucks as a result of regulation.

The research overview The End of Car Manufacturing in Australia: What is the Role of Training? indicates that training of workers is a fundamental part of industry restructuring packages in light of closure of passenger vehicle manufacturing. This training:

  • Needs to be tailored to individual needs
  • Needs to be appropriately timed
  • Take into account regional labour market needs.

The overview also points out that the training should focus on transferability of skills, support for developing foundation skills, and be age appropriate.

Links and resources

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

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Association of Australasian Diesel Specialists INC (AADS)

Automotive Products Manufacturing and Exporters Council (APMEC)

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Australian Industry Group (AiGroup)

Business Council of Australia

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

Federation of Automotive Parts Manufacturers

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia

Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers

Motor Traders’ Association of New South Wales

Motor Trades Association of the Northern Territory

Motor Trades Association ACT

Motor Trades Association of Australia

Motor Trades Association of Queensland (MTA Queensland)

Motor Trade Association of South Australia (MTA South Australia)

Motor Trade Association of Western Australia (MTA WA)

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)



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


Relevant research

Directions in Australia’s Automotive Industry: An Industry Report 2017 – Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

The End of Car Manufacturing in Australia: What is the Role of Training? – Stanwick J, Circelli M, Lu T

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 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.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

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

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Generic skills data have been extracted from the Automotive IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 31 Mar 2020
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