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GM out SA: More than 16 000 readers believe 'its a reflection of the economy'

2017-05-24 07:59

Image: Wheels24 / Janine van der Post

Janine Van der Post

Cape Town - Earlier in May, General Motors made a shocking announcement that the automaker intends to "cease local manufacturing and selling Chevrolet vehicles in the domestic market by the end of 2017".

General Motors said: "With this announcement, Isuzu Motors intends to purchase GM's South African light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations and strengthen its presence in the market."

Chevrolet operations to end in SA, GM to sell factory to Isuzu

Stefan Jacoby, GM executive vice-president and president of GM International said: "After a thorough assessment of our South African operations, we believe it is best for Isuzu to integrate our light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations into its African business.

We determined that continued or increased investment in manufacturing in South Africa would not provide GM the expected returns of other global investment opportunities."

Readers respond

We asked Wheels24 readers what they thought of General Motors' announcement regarding local manufacturing in South Africa. 

The majority of respondents (16 616, 76%) said it's a reflection of the struggling South African economy, 1527 (7%) said they were gravely concerned as Chevrolet owners. Only 13% (3792) readers said they were not concerned by Chevrolet's exit. 

GM pull-out: 6 car brands which left SA

Readers share their thoughts:

Linda: I must say I was very upset. I’m driving a 2012 Chevrolet spark 1.2 LS, I love this car but keeping it beyond 2017 will be very costly. Chevrolet maintenance and replacement parts is expensive otherwise their vehicles are affordable. So upon hearing these news I’m in search for a VW or Toyota but I must say this news really upset me.

I feel sad more for the people who bought them last year and even a month ago, because what if Isuzu changes their mind to purchase the Chevrolet plant, then what?

Stefan Short version - junk status.  Bye bye jobs and clever "revolutionaries"  embrace junk status. Now they will brace hunger. Such a shame. 

Jan: There goes the value of my 2017 Trailblazer that cost R500 000. 

Hans: With our politics and labour laws what can one expect, there will be more to follow I'm sure. Question is, what does this do for unemployment?

Gavin Cheaper to import. Simple as that.

Anthony: I have little doubt this has been coming for some time now GMSA has progressively lost market share over the last three years, way in excess of what the economy has brought on motor vehicle sales.

Some four years ago GMSA was retailing 5000 plus units per month. Then the Trailblazer was added along with the "new" Isuzu LDV.
Even with these products market share began to drop severely. The head of Sales and marketing Malcolm Gauld then resigns and replaced by Brian Ohlson (American) - well, from there on it has gone one way - SOUTH.

GMSA lost direction in the market - had little idea of where they wanted to position there products - and where in a total state of denial.

Dealers were "pulling their hair out" and GMSA just did not care or listen. As always they GMSA knew better.
Sadly Isuzu also lost market share dramatically. Opposition products stepped in and took market share from them. Sadly GMSA did very little to combat this straight on attack for market share.
Dealers have suffered severely - profitability fell dramatically - value of the Franchise diminished dramatically.

If one just thinks back on the blunders GMSA have made in the past - from doing little with Suzuki, their first SAAB attempt, their initial stand alone Chevrolet franchises and the infamous Cadillac, Hummer and SAAB disaster.

Well, what could one expect? Only the eventual demise of GMSA.
We now have to wait and see what happens with Isuzu. Will it be a "too little too late" situation.
Certainly the opposition are not going to sit back and let Isuzu try re-establish themselves in SA.
In fact, they are going to play this failure by GMSA in their favour.

In any event, Isuzu has a lot of catching up to do, both in reputation and product, to make them real market players again.
As pure Isuzu dealers - well who knows - is it a matter of time till their demise, or will this prove to be the turn around for the "delinquent" Franchise?
Good luck to those remaining dealers who make the cut (after a severe cut in dealers). We will watch this space keenly.

Susan: I am horrified having bought a R500 000 Chev 2.5 Trail Blazer 12 weeks ago. Surely the current market value has plummeted and will continue to do so?
Whilst it was announced that the availability of parts will continue when the current stock of parts in SA runs out what Guarantees do GM give in expediting the required parts to SA?
GM would have known for sometime of their intentions to leave SA, what preliminary advises had they given to their franchise holders who sell their vehicles, in particular Williams Hunt?

Sanjiv: This is not surprising news. It was a matter of time before this would happen. GM have always been on the back foot for a number of years now and their low volumes and lack of significant export contracts have contributed to the challenge they face. All part of the GM global strategy to cut non profit making operations, so unfortunately GM SA has to be one of the markets to face the chop. Unfortunate for the people that work there, as this would have a direct impact on the EC job and supplier market.
Part of the change that we have to get used to.

John Miller: They won't be the last ! We need Zuma and Co. out to save our economy. Otherwise it's just a downward spiral. 

Candice Abrhams: Firstly when taking such big steps were all the correct procedures followed? General motors has been apart of South Africa for so long... what will happen to their faithful and loyal employees now? Not forgetting their families? It's heartbreaking to think some of the workers might walk away with nothing. I don't think it's fair... if they knew they were in trouble why didn't they make alternate arrangements? Or try and get other help or cut down on costs in the factory or salary cutbacks instead of just giving up... What is South Africa coming to? So people be wary if u work in a factory ... before u know it I'll be unemployed.

Leon Swanepoel: This is very concerning to me as I am a pensioner who owns a Trailblazer with a full maintenance plan until 2018!  Will this maintenance plan be honoured? Imagine what the price of servicing a GM vehicle does after General Motors’ departure. Very, very concerning and disappointed, I should have bought a Toyota Fortuner instead.

Robin: When I purchased my Chevrolet I was assured by them that they intended to build the brand to become one of the major players in the motor industry. What a load of hog wash. This is the second time they have dumped South Africa. They must stay the hell out of the country for good. They lie and let everyone that went back to them down. They are major A holes.

Peter Ling: The inevitable has now manifested itself. First they destroyed SAAB and were about to do the same to Opel notwithstanding Oldsmobile and Pontiac in the US, and the plants in UK and Australia also experiencing similar trends.
Personally I am of the opinion GM wouldn’t recognize a good car if they fell over one.

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