11 Dec 2013

Holden to stop manufacturing in Australia

9:42 pm on 11 December 2013

Nearly 3000 Holden workers are set to lose their jobs over the next four years as the car maker winds down its Australian operations.

General Motors Holden has announced the company will stop making vehicles by the end of 2017 - ending 65 years of building cars in Australia.

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The decision means 2900 people will lose their jobs - 1600 from the manufacturing plant in South Australia and 1300 in Victoria, the ABC reports.

Holden cited the high Australian dollar as a main reason for the closure. It said at the peak of the dollar's exchange rate, manufacturing things in Australia was 65% more expensive compared with a decade earlier.

Holden general manager Mike Devereaux delivered the news to workers in Adelaide's Elizabeth plant on Wednesday.

"This is an incredibly difficult day for everybody at Holden, given our long and proud history of building cars in Australia. But make no mistake, we have looked at every possible option to build our next generation cars here in this country to replace our existing models."

The company will retain sales division, parts distribution, and a global design studio. Some 33,000 people employed in the automotive components sector are likely to also be affected.

Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said the federal government regrets the fact that Holden's parent company General Motors is to phase down its operations.

Professor Andrew Beer, a University of South Australia researcher, is urging state governments to quickly ensure that workers are given the opportunity to learn new skills before the plants close.

The former head of Mitsubishi Australia, Graham Spurling, says an exodus of car makers from Australia has been obvious for the past 13 years.