Holden to transition to “National Sales Company”, says General Motors press release
Following Ford’s operational withdrawal announcement from the Australian market by 2016, General Motors is aiming to do the same by transitioning the Holden brand to a “National Sales Company” in Australia and New Zealand by the end of 2017.
The decision was made as part of “ongoing actions” to streamline global operations and make them more profitable. An expected 2,900 positions within the company will be eliminated between two manufacturing plants. Australasian specific models – such as the Commodore and Ute – may also get the axe.
“We are completely dedicated to strengthening our global operations while meeting the needs of our customers,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country, including the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world.”
While manufacturing will cease, General Motors will keep their Australian design studio open, at least for now. The global design studio is responsible for local Australian models as well as global products, such as the Chevrolet Camaro.
Now that Ford, Mitsubishi, and Holden have planned to cease operations in the country, only Toyota will be left.
Autocar UK had a chance to speak with a Toyota representative, who stated, “We are saddened to learn of GM Holden’s decision. We will now work with our suppliers, key stake holders and the government to consider our next steps.”
The announcement comes immediately after General Motors said they would cease to market volume model Chevrolets in Europe, eliminating the overlap between the bowtie brand and European Opel/Vauxhall vehicles.
We could see more announcements in the coming weeks, such as a cooling of South Korean manufacturing in favour of less expensive regions.
To date, General Motors has produced cars for 85 years in Australia.