THE Rudd government's $1.3billion green car innovation fund will not deliver a more environmentally friendly automotive industry and is little more than shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, industry veterans say.
Calling for funding to be tied to major reform of the industry, as in the US, former car company executives say money dished out by the government under the green car fund is industry assistance under a new name.
Their criticism comes after Industry Minister Kim Carr announced the federal government would provide $42 million from the green car fund to help Ford develop a new four-cylinder engine for the Falcon and Territory.
The funding came as Ford said it would dump plans to build the four-cylinder Ford Focus at its Broadmeadows plant in Melbourne.
Former Mitsubishi Australia managing director Graham Spurling said the green car fund, intended to help companies develop low-emission, fuel-efficient cars, was simply an industry handout with a new banner.
"It's the same old ship with the same old deck chairs," Mr Spurling said. "The industry has undergone huge changes overseas and I think Australia needs to understand that there is a need for a substantial paradigm shift. The current automotive regime is becoming outdated."