Adelaide will be devastated if Holden's car manufacturing operations are shut down, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary Dave Smith has warned.

Financial support from government was needed immediately for the industry to stay in Australia and the car industry needed to be subsided to remain viable, Mr Smith said.

"I think you are going to have to subsidise the car industry in one form or another going forward," Mr Smith told ABC radio.

"You can't block tariffs that are almost zero, provide no protection for the industry and then expect it won't need some form of government assistance. It doesn't work like that anywhere else in the world."

Mr Smith said it was crucial that Holden and Toyota stay viable to protect thousands of jobs.

 

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