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GMH To Close Australian Manufacturing Operations In 2017: Official

General Motors has announced that it will discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017, bringing to an end 60 years of making the iconic Holden car.

HoldenThe official announcement from General Motors says it will “transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand”.

The decision will affect approximately 2,900 positions over the next four years, 1,600 in South Australia and 1,300 in Victoria.

The announcement cited the value of the Australian dollar as a chief reason for the decision. “The appreciation of the currency alone means that at the Australian dollar’s peak, making things in Australia was 65 percent more expensive compared to just a decade earlier.”

News of the General Motors decision was announced by the Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine, during Question Time. In Federal Parliament, the Opposition moved a motion criticising the government over the loss of jobs.

Treasurer Joe Hockey accused the Opposition of confected outrage and hypocrisy over Holden’s decision. He said global car manufacturers were moving operations to locations where production costs are cheaper. He pointed out that former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who as Treasurer floated the dollar in 1983, is to address the Labor Caucus tomorrow.

In Parliament yesterday, Hockey made a spirited demand that Holden announce its intentions. His remarks received front page treatment today, as shown below.

Text of a statement from General Motors.

GM to Transition to a National Sales Company in Australia and New Zealand

Company to cease manufacturing in Australia by 2017

GMDETROIT – As part of its ongoing actions to decisively address the performance of its global operations, General Motors today announced it would transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand. The company also said it would discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing and significantly reduce its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017. [Read more…]