WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images
Holden Logo On Car William West Afp Via Getty Images

GM Restructures International Operations, Withdraws from Australia, New Zealand

Feb. 17, 2020
Holden, GM’s operating brand in Australia and New Zealand, stopped locally assembling cars in 2017.

GM is closing shop in the world’s smallest continent. The Detroit-based automaker announced plans February 16 to close Holden, its operating brand in Australia and New Zealand, effective by 2021. The brand, headquartered in Port Melbourne in Australia’s Victoria province, became an importer brand in 2017 when local production of vehicles at their Elizabeth, Victoria plant stopped making cars in 2017.

The latest move is part of GM’s recent corporate push to rethink its participation in international markets. In a statement, GM CEO Mary Barra said closing Holden and other international markets would allow GM to prioritize “global investments that will drive growth in the future of mobility, especially in the areas of EVs and AVs.”

At the same time GM announced the closure of the Holden brand, it also said it would sell its underutilized vehicle manufacturing plant in Rayong, Thailand to Great Wall Motors. GM also said they would stop selling Chevrolets there: “Without domestic manufacturing, Chevrolet is unable to compete in Thailand’s new-vehicle market,” they said.

According to GM, the closing operations in Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand all together should incur net cash charges of about $300 million.

 In January, GM announced it would sell a factory in India and restructure operations in South America and Korea. South America, the Middle East, and Korea are “core markets” for GM International, according to President Steve Kiefer.

Holden, in a statement on its website, promised to honor all existing warranties for affected vehicles and to support servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years via aftersales networks. Holden was founded in 1948 and manufactured its first mass-produced car in 1948. 

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