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Holden cuts workforce after GM cancels programs


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Holden sheds contract jobs as GM abandons global rear-wheel drive vehicle projects

By TERRY MARTIN 2 September 2008

GM HOLDEN is shedding an unspecified number of contract design and engineering positions following parent General Motors’ decision to abandon work based on the Australian-developed global rear-wheel drive architecture.

After another tumultuous week for Australian vehicle manufacturing, during which 240 fresh job cuts across three automotive component suppliers and Kenworth Trucks were announced – less than a week after Ford declared that 350 jobs would be slashed at its Geelong and Broadmeadows plants – GM Holden has revealed to GoAuto that contract positions were being terminated on an ongoing basis until it reached the “appropriate level to meet the revised workload”.

The cutbacks commenced some weeks ago.

“There’s been a number of global programs either cancelled or put on hold,” said GM Holden spokesman John Lindsay.

“Because we do global work through our global design and engineering (operations), essentially what we’ve been doing is reducing our workforce to the appropriate level to meet the revised workload.

“What we’ve been doing is approaching our contracted staff, and those who aren’t required we’ve been letting them go. So that’s an ongoing process at the moment.”

Mr Lindsay refused to divulge the exact number of positions being cut but confirmed that no permanent positions had been affected. He said the contract terminations would continue “until we’ve got the right balance and mix of skills that match the workload that we have”.

GoAuto sources have indicated that the staff cuts are extensive and have had a dramatic impact on operations.

“We haven’t been giving out any numbers on this because basically it’s ongoing,” Mr Lindsay said. “But essentially we scaled up to match the projects we were getting from global (head office) to cope with that – and we did that with contract staff, which is why we do have contract staff – but now with those reductions, we’re scaling down appropriately.

“It’s something we’ve done before – and part of our normal business practice … I wouldn’t want to put a specific time (frame) on it, but it’s something that we’re working through at the moment.

“We have to make sure that we have the right skills mix. There will be some contractors that have the skills that we still require, even with the reduction in the current workload. So we’re working through that,” he said.

The rear-wheel drive centre of excellence for the GM world, Holden was known to have been in the running to develop the replacement for the Buick Lucerne sold in North America, while GM was also understood to have considered building the next-generation Chevrolet Impala on the Holden-developed RWD architecture.

Mr Lindsay refused to comment on the global programs that have been canned and/or shelved. However, overseas reports have suggested that stringent fuel consumption standards in the United States have forced GM to abandon plans to create both the Lucerne and Impala using Australian-sourced design and engineering.

Furthermore, US industry journal Automotive News this week reported that design work for a number of GM brands outside North America was being transferred to Detroit in response to US vehicle programs being delayed or cancelled, which in turn has freed up US designers for other projects.

It cited the Impala and “an unnamed Buick sedan” as examples, and quoted GM design vice-president Ed Welburn, who said: “We have had a couple (of) studios where some projects have been cancelled. We have other studios that are totally overloaded. We just need to level that work around the globe.”

Studios believed to be swamped with design work are those working on GM’s new-generation small cars, in particular the Opel R&D centre in Germany and GM Daewoo Auto & Technology in South Korea.

“They can’t handle it all,” Mr Welburn said. “So some of that work will be done in North America.”

GM spokesperson Mike Albano was also quoted as saying that GM’s design centre in Warren, Michigan, was expected to eventually handle work for two vehicle architectures. He declined to identify those platforms, but said: “We have some work being shifted in process for small, subcompact (vehicles), that kind of category. I certainly could foresee more car programs coming into Warren as the market changes.”

Mr Lindsay insisted that design work at Holden was not being channelled into an overseas studio.

“The projects that have impacted us are ones that have either been cancelled or delayed – they were not projects being moved from here to elsewhere,” he said.

Link: http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf...A2574B800160D68

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Sad. Zeta was one of GM's few decent platforms...actually, the only GM platforms I care about are Zeta, Sigma, Kappa, the Corvette and the rumoured Alpha. The good stuff..

Edited by moltar
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Alpha plans/designs have been moved out of OZ at Cadillac's insistence and moved to North America.

Hmmm....

So that long post that I made a LONG time ago about Cadillac lobbying for Alpha appears to be at least half correct?

I'm fine with that. I mean, I want Holden to continue to have it's independence, but it's nice to see something other than trucks and Y-Bodys being developed here.

Maybe GM can engineer a lighter Zeta, or a hybrid of Zeta and Sigma. Or even a Sigma II for large cars.

EDIT: I still don't understand why Zeta can't be utilized for SOMETHING... Large cars, trucks, anything? And since it can't be used for anything, that leads me to question if Holden should be in charge of developing RWD. Not that I'm anti-Holden, but seriously, there has to be some logical reason why Zeta can't be used. Is it just too heavy? Will it not meet safety requirements as a truck? Does GM just not want to launch the cars in a softening market? Why?

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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Hmmm....

So that long post that I made a LONG time ago about Cadillac lobbying for Alpha appears to be at least half correct?

I'm fine with that. I mean, I want Holden to continue to have it's independence, but it's nice to see something other than trucks and Y-Bodys being developed here.

Maybe GM can engineer a lighter Zeta, or a hybrid of Zeta and Sigma. Or even a Sigma II for large cars.

EDIT: I still don't understand why Zeta can't be utilized for SOMETHING... Large cars, trucks, anything? And since it can't be used for anything, that leads me to question if Holden should be in charge of developing RWD. Not that I'm anti-Holden, but seriously, there has to be some logical reason why Zeta can't be used. Is it just too heavy? Will it not meet safety requirements as a truck? Does GM just not want to launch the cars in a sodtening market? Why?

The problem with Zeta is that it's just too damned heavy. This was THE BIG ISSUE with it from the beginning. Even with the former GMX284 and 282 programs. Those cars were coming in hundreds of pounds over target - as did the Camaro.

Before CAFE and $4 gas, GM felt that it could squeak by, even with too much mass. No longer. For Zeta, the handwriting is on the wall. Right now, I'm putting all of my hopes into Alpha.

Edited by Chazman
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This makes me sick to my stomach... kind of like

when you eat some bad seafood. Disgusting.

Shame on you GM.

$4/gal might have killed or maimed the Zeta

platform, but the 12 years GM wasted with

ZERO mainstream RWD product I can never

forgive them for.

Who knew, that cherry-maroon 1996 Impala

SS that I sat inside of as a kid back in the

spring of '96 was going to be the LAST RWD

sedan from Chevrolet for over a decade!?

I'm so damn mad I could spit fire. :angry:

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Who knew, that cherry-maroon 1996 Impala

SS that I sat inside of as a kid back in the

spring of '96 was going to be the LAST RWD

sedan from Chevrolet for over a decade!?

I'm so damn mad I could spit fire. :angry:

Actually, could it be the '96 Impala SS is the last NA RWD Chevy sedan ever? It sounds like their NA line is going to stay all FWD...

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Actually, could it be the '96 Impala SS is the last NA RWD Chevy sedan ever? It sounds like their NA line is going to stay all FWD...

Correct.

So my options are:

1.) Grab straight razor, down the street, not across.

2.) stop giving a damn and continue to drive

1950s & 1960s classic RWD hardtops for the

rest of my life, and buy a used CLK500 for

Julie every few years...

Reason number 836,546,502,137 why I just

might forget about the Camaro all together

& concentrate on my lastest life goal:

Obtaining & daily-driving a Pre-War car.

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Or option 3). Go mainstream and get a Malibu or Camry and quit yer whining... :)

Hahhahahahaa!!!!

Moltar made a funny. :lo:

The closest I will EVER come to what you described will

be if and when I buy a new of used (5th gen.) Camaro

& complete; (or, prob. have a professional perform) the

B-pillar delete & rear window regulator install.

B-pillars are the devil's playthings. :5thgen:

Or, perhaps, do same with the mega-sexy CTS-coupe.

Then again, why not just buy a C.A.R.S. '69 Camaro

hardtop shell, and install a LS1 or some other cheap

motor after buying the rest of the car out of the

Classic Industries/year one catalogs.

SERIOUSLY, for the same $35,000 that buys you

some piece of garbage Lexus of Acura FWD sedan

four door, you can have a timeless classic that is

also a practical daily driver.

--

Edited by Sixty8panther
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The competed hard for the Alpha project, but Cadillac and GME, were having none of that.

So any word on which brands will be getting Alpha models? Besides Cadillac....not Holden, then?

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And why would GME care again?

Unless it's to benefit Cadillac in Europe. But I thought you guys HAD a luxury car division?!?!

We needed each other. The Alpha needed to be ripped from Holden's hands, what better business case could be made than "for Cadillac to succeed in Europe with an Alpha car, they needed to actually have control of the platform", who better to help them in that regard, no other than GME. A marriage made in Heaven, GME now gets support from Cadillac in all things, GM's own Crown jewel.

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We needed each other. The Alpha needed to be ripped from Holden's hands, what better business case could be made than "for Cadillac to succeed in Europe with an Alpha car, they needed to actually have control of the platform", who better to help them in that regard, no other than GME. A marriage made in Heaven, GME now gets support from Cadillac in all things, GM's own Crown jewel.

Just curious in your personal view on this PCS...

How will Alpha differ if developed by Cadillac vs Holden?

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We needed each other. The Alpha needed to be ripped from Holden's hands, what better business case could be made than "for Cadillac to succeed in Europe with an Alpha car, they needed to actually have control of the platform", who better to help them in that regard, no other than GME. A marriage made in Heaven, GME now gets support from Cadillac in all things, GM's own Crown jewel.

And maybe Cadillac doesn't want Pontiac to get Alpha because it knows Pontiac will wipe the floor with the Cadillac version? (Seriously, the volume would be Pontiac based on price alone) but Buick is "different enough and small enough" for their version to not matter much.

Same thing with Zeta? Cadillac didn't want a RWD Pontiac line because it would hurt their sales. But now, because of CAFE, not only have the 2 Pontiac Zetas that directly competed with Cadillac (The GTO and G8 wagon) been nixed, but also the entire 'plan'

So Cadillac might be competing with Pontiac (Since Cadillac 1] can't get it's prices up to where they should be 2] Is largely targeting the same buyer and 3] will no doubt be DUMBED DOWN with the newest product)

As a result of that, and GME's desire to see Opel (Saturn) displace Pontiac in the line up, Pontiac is literally 'fighting the world' in GM now.

That sucks in a way, because Pontiac will never win out over GME and Cadillac, since money talks. However, it's kinda cool since Pontiac has always been the 'black sheep' or outcast at GM. It continues tradition.

Am I right? Or am I just having fun being a conspiracy theorist?

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And maybe Cadillac doesn't want Pontiac to get Alpha because it knows Pontiac will wipe the floor with the Cadillac version? (Seriously, the volume would be Pontiac based on price alone) but Buick is "different enough and small enough" for their version to not matter much.

Same thing with Zeta? Cadillac didn't want a RWD Pontiac line because it would hurt their sales. But now, because of CAFE, not only have the 2 Pontiac Zetas that directly competed with Cadillac (The GTO and G8 wagon) been nixed, but also the entire 'plan'

So Cadillac might be competing with Pontiac (Since Cadillac 1] can't get it's prices up to where they should be 2] Is largely targeting the same buyer and 3] will no doubt be DUMBED DOWN with the newest product)

As a result of that, and GME's desire to see Opel (Saturn) displace Pontiac in the line up, Pontiac is literally 'fighting the world' in GM now.

That sucks in a way, because Pontiac will never win out over GME and Cadillac, since money talks. However, it's kinda cool since Pontiac has always been the 'black sheep' or outcast at GM. It continues tradition.

Am I right? Or am I just having fun being a conspiracy theorist?

Sounds sadly accurate to me.

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The closest I will EVER come to what you described will

be if and when I buy a new of used (5th gen.) Camaro

& complete; (or, prob. have a professional perform) the

B-pillar delete & rear window regulator install.

Sorry to go completely off topic, but wouldn't it actually be significantly cheaper and easier to start with a convertible and attach a roof? That way you're not attacking any existing structure, just removing the cloth top and welding a steel one on.

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Just curious in your personal view on this PCS...

How will Alpha differ if developed by Cadillac vs Holden?

Cadillac will now have direct control of the platform, it's engineers and not Holden's engineers will be working on it. It wants to make sure the Cadillac cues it desires are in the platform from the ground up. Cadillac and GME want a totally premium car released on the Alpha platform for Europe. This car has to be a stunner in Europe, and Cadillac has the right people in place to make that happen. Holden on the other hand is being stripped of personnel and resources as GM closes down or moves many projects from there. Contractors being let go was just the 1st step, soon regular staff will be let go too, it's just a matter of time now.

As for my personal view of it, well what's good for GME and Cadillac, is good for me.

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Sorry to go completely off topic, but wouldn't it actually be significantly cheaper and easier to start with a convertible and attach a roof? That way you're not attacking any existing structure, just removing the cloth top and welding a steel one on.

Great point.

But the ragtop is a lot more expesive, it

wouldbe all about the cost to me.

(thinks deep for a few sec.)

Now that you mention it, that is a smarter

way to go.

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Great point.

But the ragtop is a lot more expesive, it

wouldbe all about the cost to me.

(thinks deep for a few sec.)

Now that you mention it, that is a smarter

way to go.

It does strike me as odd that the Mustang, Camaro, and many other cars in recent decades have had convertibles tooled up, but not hardtops--since with the convertible, alot of the engineering would be the same as for a hardtop, I would think--the reinforcement, the side glass, the shortened B-pillar, etc. I guess they couldn't figure out the ROI for hardtops.

That said, I'm leaning towards a hardtop convertible for my convertible fix...you get both a slick 2dr ht and a convertible. Not many choices that are RWD w/ a manual.

Edited by moltar
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Moltar:

Agreed 100%. It's stupifying & annoying to me.

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Cadillac will now have direct control of the platform, it's engineers and not Holden's engineers will be working on it. It wants to make sure the Cadillac cues it desires are in the platform from the ground up. Cadillac and GME want a totally premium car released on the Alpha platform for Europe. This car has to be a stunner in Europe, and Cadillac has the right people in place to make that happen. Holden on the other hand is being stripped of personnel and resources as GM closes down or moves many projects from there. Contractors being let go was just the 1st step, soon regular staff will be let go too, it's just a matter of time now.

As for my personal view of it, well what's good for GME and Cadillac, is good for me.

How will Chevrolet's input affect Alpha? And do you think GM would budget enough resources into Alpha to do it right?

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Cadillac will now have direct control of the platform, it's engineers and not Holden's engineers will be working on it. It wants to make sure the Cadillac cues it desires are in the platform from the ground up. Cadillac and GME want a totally premium car released on the Alpha platform for Europe. This car has to be a stunner in Europe, and Cadillac has the right people in place to make that happen. Holden on the other hand is being stripped of personnel and resources as GM closes down or moves many projects from there. Contractors being let go was just the 1st step, soon regular staff will be let go too, it's just a matter of time now.

As for my personal view of it, well what's good for GME and Cadillac, is good for me.

So, will Holden be forgotten about now as well? Or will they still get adequate product?

I mean, it appears that GM is literally retreating from most markets now. Why not forfeit Oz along with North America?

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Great point.

But the ragtop is a lot more expesive, it

wouldbe all about the cost to me.

(thinks deep for a few sec.)

Now that you mention it, that is a smarter

way to go.

I would be very surprised if the aftermarket doesn't supply a hardtop for the vert. Hell, GM might even do it as an accessory - much like they did for the SCCA Solstice. Of course, it would be recommended "for off-road use only".

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How will Chevrolet's input affect Alpha? And do you think GM would budget enough resources into Alpha to do it right?

Chevy will give Alpha the volume it needs to make it cost efficient. My personal opinion is, that GM needs to assign more resources to the platform to get it done sooner, not later.

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