General Motors pulls out of Australia, New Zealand and Thailand


General Motors Co GM.N is retreating from more markets outside of the United States and China, saying on Sunday that it will wind down sales, design and engineering operations in Australia and New Zealand and retire the Holden brand by 2021.

"Through its proud 160-year history, Holden has not only made cars, it has been a powerful driver of the industrialisation and advancement of Australia and New Zealand".

The ending of Australian production of Holden's in 2017 resulted in almost 2,900 job losses.

Julian Blissett, Senior Vice President - Operations, GM International, said, "The company had taken the hard decision to cease manufacturing operations in Thailand after undertaking a detailed analysis of the business case to allocate a future product program to the site".

"This was an agonising decision for us and one we didn't make lightly or easily", said GM's global boss Julian Blissett.

GM President Mark Reuss says they looked at a number of options to keep the Holden brand alive.

Holden's 31 dealerships and 20 service agents across New Zealand will be provided with a transition plan for each dealer involving compensation and the opportunity to remain as service and parts agents.

With 1.6 million Holden cars still on the roads, about 200 people are expected to be kept on staff to carry out that work.

In 1908, it moved into the automotive field before becoming a subsidiary of GM in 1931.

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According to GM, its local growth strategy will now be focused on the specialty vehicles business - vehicles like the imminently arriving C8 Corvette.

A chunk of that will be used to settle accounts with 185 Holden dealers in Australia and 31 in New Zealand.

That nearly certainly means the Chevrolet Corvette will no longer be factory-made in right-hand-drive, but Murphy believes that won't stop the auto coming here anyway, even as a left-hand drive product.

In a sign that economic recovery was still out of sight, with a higher unemployment rate and shrinking factory production looming large, widespread news on social media last August claimed that General Motors Thailand had cut a further 327 jobs at its Rayong plants.

GM Southeast Asia President, Hector Villarreal, said the company was committed to supporting employees and customers, and will implement an orderly transition for customers, employees, dealers and suppliers.

Yes. Holden will continue to honour all existing warranties.

But Holden's market lead in Australia slipped as Japanese and Korean rivals began to enter the market. It will also handle any recalls and safety-related issues if they arise, as required, working with governmental agencies.

In 1948, the company manufactured the very first all-Australian made motor vehicle, which was unveiled by Prime Minister Ben Chifley at the time, and proved immensely popular with the driving public.