Opposition Leader Bill Shorten insists a Labor government could have kept Holden making cars in Australia until 2025.
But it would have cost taxpayers about $500 million on top of the assistance the industry is receiving from government.
General Motors has announced it will close its Holden car-making operations in Australia by 2017 with the loss of nearly 3000 jobs.
The decision places at risk the future of the only other car maker in Australia, Toyota.
“I do not believe a car industry can survive in Australia with a coalition government,” Mr Shorten told ABC Television on Thursday.
Labor had vowed to pump in another $500 million to the automotive transition scheme, he said.
“It would have been to the middle of the next decade.”
Mr Shorten defended Labor’s record in government, especially its response to the Bracks review which recommended lower tariffs on imported cars.
“You can build all the tariff walls you like, they’re never going to be big enough to stop competition.”