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GM Holden to pull out of Oz

2013-12-11 09:52

BADGE IN PERIL: General Motors has announced that it will pull out of Australia by 2017 at a possible cost of 50 000 jobs.

ADELAIDE, Australia - Holden, the Australian arm of General Motors that’s been operating there since 1925, is to quit the country by 2017.

The nearly 3000 Holden workers who will be directly affected by the withdrawal, according to The Australian, were told on Tuesday afternoon and unions warned that the move would cost around 50 000 jobs across many sectors.

It's a fate to which the South African auto industry came perilously close just a couple of months ago during a prolonged series of strikes.

'DECISION REGRETTED'

Rival automaker Toyota warned that GM Holden's decision would put "unprecedented" pressure on its own ability to assemble cars in Australia.

Acting prime minister Warren Truss (the top guy, Tony Abbott, was in South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral) took a phone call from Holden boss Mike Devereux 10 minutes before parliamentary Question Time, and said he regretted the decision by a company that had become part of Australia's heritage.

Holden, The Australian reported, said its decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflected a "perfect storm'' of negative influences faced by the car industry, among them the Australian dollar, the high cost of production, the small domestic market and "arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world''.

"Building cars in this country is just not sustainable,'' Devereux later told a news media conference in Adelaide.
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