General Motors (GM) is killing off the iconic Holden brand and pulling out of Australia and New Zealand, the latest in a series of moves to shrink the U.S. carmaker's global presence as it ramps up investments in electric and autonomous vehicles.
"Through its proud 160-year history, Holden has not only made cars, it has been a powerful driver of the industrialization and advancement of Australia and New Zealand", Mr Blissett said. The ending of Australian production of Holdens in 2017 resulted in almost 2,900 job losses.
"We are pursuing a niche presence by selling profitable high-end imported vehicles supported by a lean GM structure", International Operations Senior Vice-President Julian Blissett said in the statement.
"I've often said that we will do the right thing, even when it's hard, and this is one of those times", GM CEO Mary Barra said.
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Following our news story yesterday, GM has now officially confirmed it will be closing down the Holden brand. Since then, we've seen the automaker exit virtually all of the major right-hand-drive markets including the United Kingdom, India and South Africa, and now Australia and New Zealand.
After years of losses in Europe, GM sold Opel and Vauxhall to Peugeot and Citroen owner PSA in 2017 for £1.9bn.
Australian media reports around 600 of 800 jobs will be lost, with Holden staff and dealers informed at midday today.
Anyone who has signed a contract to buy a new Holden in the lead-up to Monday's shutdown announcement may also be able to renegotiate the final drive-away price, the Holden dealers said.
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"A total shock" is how Greg Murphy describes GM's decision to close Holden. With sales of GM's Australian Holden brand plummeting, the company could not justify the investment to continue building right-hand drive vehicles, GM President Mark Reuss said in Sunday's statement. In 2013, GM announced Holden would cease production in Australia in 2017, due to the high costs of manufacturing in the country.
At the end of 2013 Holden announced that it would halt production in Australia and start importing vehicles from its overseas plants.
GM has 1,900 employees in the country, with 1,200 at manufacturing sites. GM stated developing new models just for the three remaining comparatively small markets (Australia, New Zealand and Thailand) was unprofitable.
"Impacted Holden employees will be provided separation packages and employment transition support".
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Owners with any concerns can contact Holden Customer Care on 0800 465 336 for answers to any inquiries and all warranties and service agreements, or visit www.holden.co.nz for further information. The company promised it would provide servicing, spare parts and support through its existing network, which will also handle any future recalls should the need arise.