By BridgeNews General Motors Corp. said Dec. 13 it will construct a new V-6 high-tech engine plant at its existing facilities in Melbourne, the capital of Australia's Victoria state. GM's Australian subsidiary, Holden, agreed to the plant at a board meeting, approving an initial investment of AUS$400 million (US$217 million), which will grow to AUS$700 million by 2005. The developments came as GM announced it would phase out its Oldsmobile line, America's oldest brand of automobile, over the next few years and reduce its workforce by 10%. In addition to the new Victoria-based plant, Holden said it intends to invest more than AUS$400 million over the next five years upgrading and expanding its vehicle assembly plant in South Australia state. "The decision secures Australia's automotive future and positions the nation to compete with the world's best," says Holden's Chairman and Managing Director, Peter Hanenberger. As well as supplying the local market, the new plant has been designed with an eye for producing engines for export. Hanenberger said the first of the all-aluminum six-cylinder engines will roll off the production line in January 2004 and, at its peak, will produce 214,000 units annually.