GM "retires" Aussie brand HOLDEN

Up to 800 jobs are expected to go as Holden's parent company, General Motors, announced the news it would 'retire' the brand and close all of its local engineering and design operations to dealers, employees and the press today.

General Motors said it would wind down the local design and engineering operations in Melbourne by 2021. GM described the move as 'decisive action to transform its international operations, building on the comprehensive strategy it laid out in 2015 to strengthen its core business, drive significant cost efficiencies and take action in markets that cannot earn an adequate return for its shareholders.'

GM President Mark Reuss said the company explored a range of options to continue Holden operations, but none could overcome the challenges of the investments needed for the highly fragmented right-hand-drive market, the economics to support growing the brand, and delivering an appropriate return on investment.

"At the highest levels of our company we have the deepest respect for Holden's heritage and contribution to our company and to the countries of Australia and New Zealand," said Reuss.

"After considering many possible options – and putting aside our personal desires to accommodate the people and the market – we came to the conclusion that we could not prioritize further investment over all other considerations we have in a rapidly changing global industry.

"We do believe we have an opportunity to profitably grow the specialty vehicle business and plan to work with our partner to do that," he concluded.

GM International Operations Senior Vice President Julian Blissett said that in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and related export markets, customers can be assured that GM will honor all warranties and continue to provide servicing and spare parts. Local operations will also continue to handle all recall and any safety-related issues, working with the appropriate governmental agencies.