General Motors Co. will no longer produce vehicles in Australia as early as 2016, according to local media. GM operates in Australia through its Holden unit. The disclosure of the decision was supposed to come this week but it was postponed to early 2014, according to Australian Broadcasting Corp., citing unnamed senior government sources.
Both Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and shadow minister Kim Carr remarked that they understood no decision had been made. The move would be a major blow to Australia’s auto industry, which has been struggling for years no thanks to high costs, a strong local dollar, weak exports and tough international competition.
The government has spent billions of dollars to support the industry, but the aid has become less certain since Tony Abbott's conservative government grabbed power in September 2013. The Australian auto industry employs over 50,000 people and supports 200,000 other manufacturing jobs. Carr remarked that if one carmaker closes in Australia, “it’s only a matter of time before the whole lot goes." Ford will close two of its auto plants in Australia in October 2016.