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Found 25 results

  1. It seems America isn't the only place that is interested in the Toyota Tundra. CarAdvice.com.au reports there is “enormous demand” for the Tundra in Australia. Speaking with Tony Cramb, Toyota AU's executive director of sales and marketing said there was room for a larger truck. But there are two key items withholding the Tundra from the Australian marketplace. “We have an enormous demand for a Tundra here in Australia, there’s no doubt if we could get a diesel Tundra, then I think we’d sell 100 a month. But regrettably because it’s manufactured in the States, it’s unlikely to happen that way," said Cramb “… We’ve had strong requests at dealer meetings to get the Tundra here, and we have made representation. But when it comes down to it, because it’s not LHD here, and because it’s petrol, in the end it’s very hard to make the case.” For now, those who are interested in buying a Tundra in Australia can visit an importer and pick up one for around 120,000 AUD (about $94,000). Source: CarAdvice.com.au
  2. And then there were none. Toyota announced today at their Altona plant on the western outskirts of Melbourne that the company would end local production in 2017 and transition into a sales and distribution company. The move will affect 2,500 manufacturing jobs. "This is devastating news for all of our employees who have dedicated their lives to the company during the past 50 years,"said Toyota Australia President and CEO Max Yasuda. "While we have been undertaking the enormous task of transforming our business during the past two years, our people have joined us on the same journey, which makes it even more difficult to announce this decision. We did everything that we could to transform our business, but the reality is that there are too many factors beyond our control that make it unviable to build cars in Australia. Although the company has made profits in the past, our manufacturing operations have continued to be loss making despite our best efforts." The decision comes a few months after Holden and Ford announcing they would be shuttering their production operations in Australia and become a a sales and distribution company. Toyota's reasoning behind the closing is the same as Ford and Holden; the high value of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, and new free trade agreements. Source: Drive.com.au, Toyota William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 10 February 2014 TOYOTA AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES FUTURE PLAN FOR LOCAL MANUFACTURING Toyota Australia today announced that it will stop building cars in Australia by the end of 2017 and become a national sales and distribution company. This means that local manufacturing of the Camry, Camry Hybrid and Aurion vehicles, as well as the production of four cylinder engines, will cease by the end of 2017. The decision was not based on any single factor. The market and economic factors contributing to the decision include the unfavourable Australian dollar that makes exports unviable, high costs of manufacturing and low economies of scale for our vehicle production and local supplier base. Together with one of the most open and fragmented automotive markets in the world and increased competitiveness due to current and future Free Trade Agreements, it is not viable to continue building cars in Australia. Toyota Australia President and CEO, Max Yasuda, was joined by Toyota Motor Corporation President and CEO, Akio Toyoda, as he made the announcement to employees late this afternoon. "This is devastating news for all of our employees who have dedicated their lives to the company during the past 50 years," Mr Yasuda said. "While we have been undertaking the enormous task of transforming our business during the past two years, our people have joined us on the same journey, which makes it even more difficult to announce this decision "We did everything that we could to transform our business, but the reality is that there are too many factors beyond our control that make it unviable to build cars in Australia. "Although the company has made profits in the past, our manufacturing operations have continued to be loss making despite our best efforts. "Our focus will now be to work with our employees, suppliers, government and the unions as we transition to a national sales and distribution company. Support services will be available to our employees and we will do everything that we can to minimise the impact of this decision on our employees and suppliers." Mr Yasuda said approximately 2,500 employees directly involved with manufacturing will be impacted when the plant stops building cars in 2017. There will also be an impact on the company's corporate divisions, which will be studied over the coming months to determine what roles and functions will remain in the future. Mr Yasuda said that Toyota was also committed to providing support to the industry as it prepares for the end of vehicle manufacturing in Australia. "We will work with our key stakeholders to determine how to provide the best support to our employees, suppliers and local communities during the coming years," Mr Yasuda said. "Not only do we need to ensure our local suppliers and employees can plan for their future, we also need to make sure that we continue to produce high quality vehicles and engines for our domestic and export customers." Toyota Australia will continue to be involved in its local communities and employ thousands of people both directly and indirectly via its extensive dealership network. It is the company's intention to import the Camry and Aurion vehicles beyond 2017, along with the entire range of Toyota passenger and commercial vehicles.
  3. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 17, 2013 Last week, we reported on the rumor that General Motors was considering retiring the Holden nameplate and use the Chevrolet name. This information comes from sources inside at Holden. Now a GM spokesman says the brand is sticking around. GM spokesman Greg Martin tells Automotive News that after 2017, the Holden nameplate will still be around. Vehicles that will be exported into Australia and New Zealand. As for sales, service and distribution of the vehicles, that will be handled by a new business being setup by the company. One item that is still up in the air is the fate of the Chevrolet SS and Caprice PPV, two vehicles built and exported from Australia. Martin would not comment on that. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  4. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 13, 2013 With the announcement of Holden closing up production and R&D by 2017, the battle to keep the Holden brand alive has only begun. News.com.au reports that General Motors is considering dropping Holden and transitioning to Chevrolet. The reasons for this begin with the Holden brand not having any distinction once the brand begins importing vehicles in 2017. There is also an image problem as the brand could be seen as damaged with the shutdown of its factories. "There will now be the biggest fight ever to save the Holden brand from being shelved. Every time there is a new boss of Holden or a new head of General Motors, the question is asked, 'Why do we still have the Holden brand in Australia? Now that (Holden) won't be making cars and there won't be anything unique about the vehicles, the debate is going to come up again and it will be hard to win. There will be massive implications for the brand," a Holden insider said. "There is no emotion in this. It will all come down to money. If General Motors thinks sales will go down because the Holden brand is on the nose, then they will switch it to Chevrolet," another insider said. This isn't the first time that Holden had to fight back. Back at the start of the global financial crisis, Holden was on the chopping block alongside Hummer and Pontiac. Holden fought back with Mark Ruess at the helm. "The amount of money we've spent trying to defend the Holden brand to Detroit is ridiculous. But when executives from North America come out to Australia, they take photos of Chevrolet badges that people have fitted to their Holden utes, and use that against us," an insider said. Source: News.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  5. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 10, 2013 The rumors were flying around only a week ago, but it has been confirmed now. This afternoon in Australia, Holden announced that after sixty-five years of production, the automaker will stop producing vehicles and "transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand" by 2017. The move will affect 2,900 workers at the Elizabeth manufacturing plant and Victoria. It will also affect a number of suppliers in Australia. “We are completely dedicated to strengthening our global operations while meeting the needs of our customers. The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country, including the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson in a statement. “GM remains committed to the automotive industry in Australia and New Zealand. We recognize the need for change and understand the government’s point of view. Moving forward, our business model will change significantly however, GM Holden will remain an integral part of its communities and an important employer both directly and through our dealers,” said Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux. Holden says they hope to have "significant presence in Australia beyond 2017" with a national sales company, parts distribution, and a global design studio. Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss told members of the Australian Parliament during question period that he had spoken with Devereux and found out the decision had been made in Detroit. "Now this government had indicated right from the very beginning that we wanted Holden to remain manufacturing cars in Australia. "We've wanted, we want to have a strong and active motor vehicle manufacturing industry in Australia," said Truss. Workers were told the news at the end of their shift. Many were angry and honked and screamed as they left for the day. "Ive been waiting for a package anyway," said Rob Williams, a worker to Drive.com.au. Holden follows in the footsteps of Ford who announced earlier in the year that would be shutting down their operations in Australia by 2016. Source: Drive.com.au, News.com.au, General Motors William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 GM to Transition to a National Sales Company in Australia and New Zealand Company to cease manufacturing in Australia by 2017 DETROIT – As part of its ongoing actions to decisively address the performance of its global operations, General Motors today announced it would transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand. The company also said it would discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing and significantly reduce its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017. “We are completely dedicated to strengthening our global operations while meeting the needs of our customers,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country, including the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world.” As a result of the company’s actions, approximately 2,900 positions will be impacted over the next four years. This will comprise 1,600 from the Elizabeth vehicle manufacturing plant and approximately 1,300 from Holden’s Victorian workforce. Holden will continue to have a significant presence in Australia beyond 2017, comprising a national sales company, a national parts distribution centre and a global design studio. GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux said an important priority over the next four years would be to ensure the best possible transition for workers in South Australia and Victoria. “This has been a difficult decision given Holden’s long and proud history of building vehicles in Australia,” said Devereux. “We are dedicated to working with our teams, unions and the local communities, along with the federal and state governments, to support our people.” The sale and service of Holden vehicles will be unaffected by this announcement and will continue through the extensive network of Holden dealers across Australia and New Zealand. Warranty terms and spare parts availability will remain unchanged. “GM remains committed to the automotive industry in Australia and New Zealand. We recognize the need for change and understand the government’s point of view. Moving forward, our business model will change significantly however, GM Holden will remain an integral part of its communities and an important employer both directly and through our dealers,” Devereux said. Since 2001, the Australian dollar has risen from US$0.50 to as high as US$1.10 and from as low as 47 to as high as 79 on the Trade Weighted Index. The Australian automotive industry is heavily trade exposed. The appreciation of the currency alone means that at the Australian dollar’s peak, making things in Australia was 65 percent more expensive compared to just a decade earlier. With the decision to discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017, GM expects to record pre-tax charges of $400 million to $600 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. The charges would consist of approximately $300 million to $500 million for non-cash asset impairment charges including property, plant and equipment and approximately $100 million for cash payment of exit-related costs including certain employee severance related costs. Additional charges are expected to be incurred through 2017 for incremental future cash payments of employee severance once negotiations of the amount are completed with the employees’ union. The asset impairment charges will be considered special for EBIT-adjusted reporting purposes.
  6. Chevrolet has sold just 179 copies of their just launched, limited edition SS High Performance Sedan so far, and already the Australian built vehicle is threatened with extinction. ABC News in Australia (no relation to ABC news in the United States) is reporting that Holden is threatening to pull production out of Australia by 2016 if it does not get the government sponsored support package it is angling for. Adding to the pressure is Holden's apparent demand for a Government decision to be made before Christmas. Automobile manufacturing in Australia has been on the decline for years. After reaching a peak of 334k in 2007, production has dropped to 224k as of 2011 with further declines since. Ford Australia has already announced their departure in 2016. If Holden ceases production in Australia, it could cost upwards of 50,000 jobs. Now Holden and the Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane have denied the report and say talks are continuing. "Consultations are continuing in good faith with Australian carmakers, the components industry and workers. The Productivity Commission is continuing its work assessing the Australian automotive industry and will report to the Government. That process is unchanged and will continue," said a spokeswoman for the Industry Minister. Holden is responsible for most of the design and production of the Chevrolet SS and Chevrolet Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle sold in the United States. As a limited edition vehicle selling at base price of $43,475 , Chevy only expects to sell about 3,000 units per year, so expect to pay some additional dealer markup if you are shopping for one of these.... and better head out there soon. What do you think? Will we miss the Chevrolet SS in the U.S. or will it be no great loss? Sound off below! Source: ABC News / TTAC
  7. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 30, 2013 2016 could mark the end of era. After 65 years serving the Australian marketplace, the Holden Ute could say good-bye. News.com.au has learned that Holden could end production of the Ute after the current Commodore is replaced in 2016. The Ute has been a staple of Australian automotive marketplace since the first model was introduced back in 1951. But in the past few years, sales have precipitously dropped. This is due to an influx of midsize trucks being built and imported from Thailand. Thailand has much lower labor costs when compared to Australian labor costs. Also, Australia has a free-trade agreement with Thailand which means anything imported from the country has no tariff. Sales of midsize trucks have been booming. Models like the Holden Colorado, Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, and Nissan Navera dominate Australia’s best-selling vehicle list. Meanwhile, the Holden Ute and Ford's Falcon Ute are way down on the list. The news gets grimmer when you compare sales of the Ute to the Commodore. Sales of the Commodore and its variants are up 15 percent year-to-date, while sales of the Ute have fallen 31 percent in the same timeframe. A lot of the sales increase for midsize trucks can be directed at a boom in mining in the country, and by small businesses and buyers who need something a bit more practical. "We've seen orders more than triple in the past five years. A lot of companies are now using crew cab utes to replace station wagons. But they're also popular with private buyers because they're part 4WD, part family car and part ute. They're more of a lifestyle vehicles these days," said Abe Tomas, managing director of Fleet and Financial Products at Macmillan Shakespeare. There is also talk about what the future holds for Holden itself. The Australian Government is currently deciding whether inject more money into Holden so they can keep building vehicles in Australia. If the government decides not to, then GM might layoff about 1,700 blue collar workers and close up their Australian operations. If the government does decide to inject more money into Holden, then the brand will adopt two new "global" cars, one which is speculated to be a front-wheel drive platform that will take the place of the Commodore. Source: News.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  8. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 19, 2013 With the recent news of Ford shuttering its Australian operations, the question arose of what would happen with the Ford Performance Vehicle (FPV) division. That division which was founded in 2002 has created some of the fastest Ford vehicles down in Australia. Well it seems that FPV will be closing up shop. A source at Ford tells Drive.com.au that FPV will be shuttered when the final iteration of the Falcon is launched next year. No word on how many jobs will be lost. In 2012 when Ford got full ownership of FPV, the company removed 32 jobs and move the rest into Ford Australia's internal operations. "We are not in a position to comment on FPV and any future product plans at this point," said Ford Australia spokesman, Neil McDonald. After FPV is disbanded, Ford will still serve fans of Fast Ford by resurrecting the Falcon XR8 which will utilize the same supercharged V8 engine, Brembo brakes, and sports suspension found on the current FPV GT Falcon. After that, no one is really sure. McDonald told Drive that Ford's global vice president of sales and marketing, Jim Farley would be in Australia next month to outline some of the coming changes. Source: Drive.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  9. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 23, 2013 Some sad news to report from Australia today. Ford Australia announced that they will be shutting down operations on October 16, 2016. The shut down will close two factories - Broadmeadows and Geelong in Victoria - and cause the loss of 1,200 jobs. During a press conference, Ford Australia President and CEO Bob Graziano explained the company could not keep building vehicles in a country in the country after reporting a loss of $141 million after tax last year, and losses totaling more than $600 million in the past five years. "Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia. The business case simply did not stack up, leading us to the conclusion that manufacturing is not viable for Ford in Australia in the long-term," Graziano said. In a statement, Ford said they looked at all possibilities, including an extensive export program and manufacturing various types and combinations of vehicles for the marketplace. “We did not leave any stone unturned but even with these assumptions the business case did not stack up,” said Graziano. Ford says they will still maintain a presence in Australia through 1,500 team members, including designers and engineers, and more than 200 dealers. The company also announced updated versions of the Falcon sedan, Falcon Ute and Territory SUV. Source: Ford William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Important announcement from Ford Australia Thu, May 23, 2013 Ford Accelerates Australian Business Transformation Ford is transforming its Australian business by accelerating the introduction of new products for Australian customers, enhancing the sales and service experience, and improving its business efficiency and profitability To better position the company to compete in a highly fragmented and competitive market, Ford will cease local manufacturing in October 2016. All entitlements are protected for the 1200 employees whose jobs are affected, and the company will work through the next three years to provide support Ford will proceed with plans to launch updated versions of the Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory in 2014, as well as offering other world-class products, such as the Ford Kuga, Ranger and Focus. The company will also strengthen its product lineup even further with a 30 per cent increase in the number of new vehicles offered to Australian customers by 2016 Ford’s presence in Australia will remain significant – with 1500 team members, more than 200 dealers nationwide and a continued strong commitment to supporting the communities in which the company operates MELBOURNE, Australia, 23 May 2013 – Ford Motor Company is transforming its business operations in Australia to provide customers with even more new products, and improved sales and service, while creating a more efficient and profitable business structure. Ford announced the plan today, including its intention to cease its local manufacturing operations in October 2016. The decision on local manufacturing was driven by increasingly challenging market conditions – including market fragmentation and the high cost of manufacturing. Ford losses in Australia in the last five years have totaled approximately $600 million (AUD). “All of us at Ford remain committed to our long history of serving Australian customers with the very best vehicles that deliver cutting edge technology at an affordable cost,” said Bob Graziano, president and CEO of Ford Australia. “Unfortunately, due to challenging market conditions we are unable to do that longer-term while continuing to manufacture locally.” Support for Employees Approximately 1200 jobs in Ford’s Broadmeadows and Geelong manufacturing plants will become redundant when manufacturing at those sites ceases in 2016. All manufacturing employees’ benefits will be provided in line with current agreements. During the next three years, Ford will work with affected employees and their representatives on support arrangements and provide clarity about the closure process. “We know this announcement is very difficult, especially for our employees,” said Graziano. “Providing support to those in our team whose roles will be affected is a key priority for us during this three-year transition period.” Future vision for Ford Australia While the way Ford is structured is changing, Ford’s commitment to Australia remains strong. “Ford will remain a significant employer in Australia, with more than 1500 team members, as will our network of more than 200 dealers around the country,” said Graziano. “The Australian team’s role as a global centre of excellence for vehicle development also will continue to be an important focus for us.” Australia is currently one of four product development hubs for Ford globally. Recently, the Australian team has been responsible for designing, engineering and testing global vehicles, including the Ford Ranger and Ford Figo, and will continue this expertise. Today, Ford has more than 1000 team members in product development in Australia, giving the company more designers and engineers than any other auto company in Australia. “Our customers will buy and service Ford vehicles through the same great dealers we have throughout the country today, and we will continue to support the communities in which we operate,” said Graziano. Decision follows comprehensive review process Given the changing dynamics of the auto industry, a number of business scenarios were reviewed during the past year to determine next steps for Ford’s Australian business. All viable alternatives were evaluated as part of the process including manufacturing various types and combinations of vehicles for local sale as well as the viability of a significant export program. The scenarios investigated also included varying levels of government support, manufacturing cost reductions and productivity improvements. Australia has annual sales of approximately 1.1 million new vehicles, and customers have access to more than 65 brands and 365 models available for sale. This makes Australia one of the most competitive and crowded automotive markets in the world. “Given the fragmented marketplace and the low model volumes that result, we decided that manufacturing locally is no longer viable,” said Graziano. More New Products As part of the transformation, Ford has aggressive plans to introduce even more new products for Australian customers – including a 30 per cent increase in the number of new vehicles offered to Australian customers by 2016. That is in addition to already announced new versions of the Ford Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory, as well the new Ford Kuga, Ranger and Focus. “We will be introducing a number of exciting new vehicles and technologies during the next few years that will excite our Australian customers,” said Graziano. “The breadth of our line-up will increase by more than 30 per cent, ensuring we continue to offer our customers an outstanding range of cars, SUVs and light trucks long into the future.” Upgraded Sales and Service Experience Ford also is significantly enhancing its approach to the sales and service experience. The company has appointed a dedicated Consumer Experience team to introduce a series of initiatives to provide customers with even better after-sales care. “We have a range of projects under way to significantly enhance our customer’s experience with Ford,” said Graziano. “This includes one of the only programs in Australia that provides a capped price on all servicing costs for seven years.” Ford continues to be part of Australian communities “Ford vehicles have been part of the automotive landscape in Australia for almost 110 years and we have manufactured here since 1925. We are proud of that history. We are proud of our role in Australia and we haven’t made this decision lightly. “Overall, we are changing, but our commitment to Australia remains strong. We’ll move through this transition and continue to be a vibrant and strong part of the Australian driving experience,” said Graziano.
  10. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 5, 2013 General Motors and Holden are instating a new plan for the new Chevrolet to help to protect Holden’s South Australian workforce and making sure the critical export program has a “bullet proof” long-term future. The plan outlined by GM's North American President Mark Reuss to Drive.com.au has Holden's factory in Adelaide building an SS once an order is placed and then shipped off to the U.S. This process means a ninety-day wait for the vehicle to arrive, but it also means there will not be a fire sale due to the abundance of vehicles sitting on dealer lots (see Pontiac GTO and G8). “It’s all about building a consistent order bank for Adelaide so that we don’t put people on and then take them off again,” Reuss said. “I went through all of that before, and it was awful. And that’s because it just wasn’t the right business. Source: Drive.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  11. We're one step closer to learning about the next-generation Holden Commodore as the automaker has begun testing the new model in Austraila. This news comes from Stefan Jacoby, General Motor's Executive Vice President Consolidated International Operations. “We are driving this car already in Lang Lang,” said Jacoby. “I love that proving ground [and] the Holden engineering team will have a part to integrate this vehicle into the Australian market. It is very obvious that the successor needs to be stronger than today’s model, and we understand that better than anybody else, and we will do everything we can, with modern technology.” The new Commodore is expected to switch from the rear-wheel drive layout it has used for the majority of its life to a new front-wheel drive platform from the next-generation Opel Insignia. But Jacoby says the Holden version will look and drive differently than its platform mate. The Australian design team who played a key role in the design of the Buick Avenir and Chevrolet Bolt concepts will have a say in how the next Commodore will look like. As for the move to front-wheel drive, Jacoby said this; “I’m coming from a front-wheel-drive group, the VW/Audi group, and with this company we don’t believe there is a true disadvantage between a front-wheel-drive Audi at the time with BMW rear-wheel drive. I think it depends on how much you can bring to the road, in respect of sportiness, and active driving and not necessarily a decision on whether it is front- or rear-wheel drive.” Source: CarAdvice.com.au, Drive.com.au
  12. Since Holden announced that it would end Australian production in 2017 and that the Commodore would go to a front-wheel drive platform (rumored to be the next-generation Opel Insignia), questions have been raised as to what would happen to the Chevrolet SS. The SS is American-ized version of the Holden Commodore with a 6.2L V8 engine and the choice of either a six-speed manual or automatic. For a time, it was rumored that the SS would live on. But a new report says the SS is a dead car walking. Motoring.com.au spoke with a unnamed GM executive at the SEMA Show who said that a replacement for the Chevrolet SS will not happen when the current Commodore ends production in 2017. Early reports had the Chevrolet SS living on after 2017 and that the new model would be imported to Australia. That's not all of the bad news though. The unnamed executive also said plans for a right-hand drive next-generation Camaro are 'highly unlikely'. This puts GM in a bad spot in certain markets as Ford will be selling the Mustang in right-hand drive. Source: Motoring.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  13. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 17, 2013 Last week, we reported on the rumor that General Motors was considering retiring the Holden nameplate and use the Chevrolet name. This information comes from sources inside at Holden. Now a GM spokesman says the brand is sticking around. GM spokesman Greg Martin tells Automotive News that after 2017, the Holden nameplate will still be around. Vehicles that will be exported into Australia and New Zealand. As for sales, service and distribution of the vehicles, that will be handled by a new business being setup by the company. One item that is still up in the air is the fate of the Chevrolet SS and Caprice PPV, two vehicles built and exported from Australia. Martin would not comment on that. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  14. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 13, 2013 With the announcement of Holden closing up production and R&D by 2017, the battle to keep the Holden brand alive has only begun. News.com.au reports that General Motors is considering dropping Holden and transitioning to Chevrolet. The reasons for this begin with the Holden brand not having any distinction once the brand begins importing vehicles in 2017. There is also an image problem as the brand could be seen as damaged with the shutdown of its factories. "There will now be the biggest fight ever to save the Holden brand from being shelved. Every time there is a new boss of Holden or a new head of General Motors, the question is asked, 'Why do we still have the Holden brand in Australia? Now that (Holden) won't be making cars and there won't be anything unique about the vehicles, the debate is going to come up again and it will be hard to win. There will be massive implications for the brand," a Holden insider said. "There is no emotion in this. It will all come down to money. If General Motors thinks sales will go down because the Holden brand is on the nose, then they will switch it to Chevrolet," another insider said. This isn't the first time that Holden had to fight back. Back at the start of the global financial crisis, Holden was on the chopping block alongside Hummer and Pontiac. Holden fought back with Mark Ruess at the helm. "The amount of money we've spent trying to defend the Holden brand to Detroit is ridiculous. But when executives from North America come out to Australia, they take photos of Chevrolet badges that people have fitted to their Holden utes, and use that against us," an insider said. Source: News.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  15. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 30, 2013 2016 could mark the end of era. After 65 years serving the Australian marketplace, the Holden Ute could say good-bye. News.com.au has learned that Holden could end production of the Ute after the current Commodore is replaced in 2016. The Ute has been a staple of Australian automotive marketplace since the first model was introduced back in 1951. But in the past few years, sales have precipitously dropped. This is due to an influx of midsize trucks being built and imported from Thailand. Thailand has much lower labor costs when compared to Australian labor costs. Also, Australia has a free-trade agreement with Thailand which means anything imported from the country has no tariff. Sales of midsize trucks have been booming. Models like the Holden Colorado, Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, and Nissan Navera dominate Australia’s best-selling vehicle list. Meanwhile, the Holden Ute and Ford's Falcon Ute are way down on the list. The news gets grimmer when you compare sales of the Ute to the Commodore. Sales of the Commodore and its variants are up 15 percent year-to-date, while sales of the Ute have fallen 31 percent in the same timeframe. A lot of the sales increase for midsize trucks can be directed at a boom in mining in the country, and by small businesses and buyers who need something a bit more practical. "We've seen orders more than triple in the past five years. A lot of companies are now using crew cab utes to replace station wagons. But they're also popular with private buyers because they're part 4WD, part family car and part ute. They're more of a lifestyle vehicles these days," said Abe Tomas, managing director of Fleet and Financial Products at Macmillan Shakespeare. There is also talk about what the future holds for Holden itself. The Australian Government is currently deciding whether inject more money into Holden so they can keep building vehicles in Australia. If the government decides not to, then GM might layoff about 1,700 blue collar workers and close up their Australian operations. If the government does decide to inject more money into Holden, then the brand will adopt two new "global" cars, one which is speculated to be a front-wheel drive platform that will take the place of the Commodore. Source: News.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  16. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 10, 2013 The rumors were flying around only a week ago, but it has been confirmed now. This afternoon in Australia, Holden announced that after sixty-five years of production, the automaker will stop producing vehicles and "transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand" by 2017. The move will affect 2,900 workers at the Elizabeth manufacturing plant and Victoria. It will also affect a number of suppliers in Australia. “We are completely dedicated to strengthening our global operations while meeting the needs of our customers. The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country, including the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson in a statement. “GM remains committed to the automotive industry in Australia and New Zealand. We recognize the need for change and understand the government’s point of view. Moving forward, our business model will change significantly however, GM Holden will remain an integral part of its communities and an important employer both directly and through our dealers,” said Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux. Holden says they hope to have "significant presence in Australia beyond 2017" with a national sales company, parts distribution, and a global design studio. Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss told members of the Australian Parliament during question period that he had spoken with Devereux and found out the decision had been made in Detroit. "Now this government had indicated right from the very beginning that we wanted Holden to remain manufacturing cars in Australia. "We've wanted, we want to have a strong and active motor vehicle manufacturing industry in Australia," said Truss. Workers were told the news at the end of their shift. Many were angry and honked and screamed as they left for the day. "Ive been waiting for a package anyway," said Rob Williams, a worker to Drive.com.au. Holden follows in the footsteps of Ford who announced earlier in the year that would be shutting down their operations in Australia by 2016. Source: Drive.com.au, News.com.au, General Motors William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 GM to Transition to a National Sales Company in Australia and New Zealand Company to cease manufacturing in Australia by 2017 DETROIT – As part of its ongoing actions to decisively address the performance of its global operations, General Motors today announced it would transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand. The company also said it would discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing and significantly reduce its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017. “We are completely dedicated to strengthening our global operations while meeting the needs of our customers,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country, including the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world.” As a result of the company’s actions, approximately 2,900 positions will be impacted over the next four years. This will comprise 1,600 from the Elizabeth vehicle manufacturing plant and approximately 1,300 from Holden’s Victorian workforce. Holden will continue to have a significant presence in Australia beyond 2017, comprising a national sales company, a national parts distribution centre and a global design studio. GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux said an important priority over the next four years would be to ensure the best possible transition for workers in South Australia and Victoria. “This has been a difficult decision given Holden’s long and proud history of building vehicles in Australia,” said Devereux. “We are dedicated to working with our teams, unions and the local communities, along with the federal and state governments, to support our people.” The sale and service of Holden vehicles will be unaffected by this announcement and will continue through the extensive network of Holden dealers across Australia and New Zealand. Warranty terms and spare parts availability will remain unchanged. “GM remains committed to the automotive industry in Australia and New Zealand. We recognize the need for change and understand the government’s point of view. Moving forward, our business model will change significantly however, GM Holden will remain an integral part of its communities and an important employer both directly and through our dealers,” Devereux said. Since 2001, the Australian dollar has risen from US$0.50 to as high as US$1.10 and from as low as 47 to as high as 79 on the Trade Weighted Index. The Australian automotive industry is heavily trade exposed. The appreciation of the currency alone means that at the Australian dollar’s peak, making things in Australia was 65 percent more expensive compared to just a decade earlier. With the decision to discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017, GM expects to record pre-tax charges of $400 million to $600 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. The charges would consist of approximately $300 million to $500 million for non-cash asset impairment charges including property, plant and equipment and approximately $100 million for cash payment of exit-related costs including certain employee severance related costs. Additional charges are expected to be incurred through 2017 for incremental future cash payments of employee severance once negotiations of the amount are completed with the employees’ union. The asset impairment charges will be considered special for EBIT-adjusted reporting purposes. View full article
  17. Chevrolet has sold just 179 copies of their just launched, limited edition SS High Performance Sedan so far, and already the Australian built vehicle is threatened with extinction. ABC News in Australia (no relation to ABC news in the United States) is reporting that Holden is threatening to pull production out of Australia by 2016 if it does not get the government sponsored support package it is angling for. Adding to the pressure is Holden's apparent demand for a Government decision to be made before Christmas. Automobile manufacturing in Australia has been on the decline for years. After reaching a peak of 334k in 2007, production has dropped to 224k as of 2011 with further declines since. Ford Australia has already announced their departure in 2016. If Holden ceases production in Australia, it could cost upwards of 50,000 jobs. Now Holden and the Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane have denied the report and say talks are continuing. "Consultations are continuing in good faith with Australian carmakers, the components industry and workers. The Productivity Commission is continuing its work assessing the Australian automotive industry and will report to the Government. That process is unchanged and will continue," said a spokeswoman for the Industry Minister. Holden is responsible for most of the design and production of the Chevrolet SS and Chevrolet Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle sold in the United States. As a limited edition vehicle selling at base price of $43,475 , Chevy only expects to sell about 3,000 units per year, so expect to pay some additional dealer markup if you are shopping for one of these.... and better head out there soon. What do you think? Will we miss the Chevrolet SS in the U.S. or will it be no great loss? Sound off below! Source: ABC News / TTAC View full article
  18. Since Holden announced that it would end Australian production in 2017 and that the Commodore would go to a front-wheel drive platform (rumored to be the next-generation Opel Insignia), questions have been raised as to what would happen to the Chevrolet SS. The SS is American-ized version of the Holden Commodore with a 6.2L V8 engine and the choice of either a six-speed manual or automatic. For a time, it was rumored that the SS would live on. But a new report says the SS is a dead car walking. Motoring.com.au spoke with a unnamed GM executive at the SEMA Show who said that a replacement for the Chevrolet SS will not happen when the current Commodore ends production in 2017. Early reports had the Chevrolet SS living on after 2017 and that the new model would be imported to Australia. That's not all of the bad news though. The unnamed executive also said plans for a right-hand drive next-generation Camaro are 'highly unlikely'. This puts GM in a bad spot in certain markets as Ford will be selling the Mustang in right-hand drive. Source: Motoring.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  19. We're one step closer to learning about the next-generation Holden Commodore as the automaker has begun testing the new model in Austraila. This news comes from Stefan Jacoby, General Motor's Executive Vice President Consolidated International Operations. “We are driving this car already in Lang Lang,” said Jacoby. “I love that proving ground [and] the Holden engineering team will have a part to integrate this vehicle into the Australian market. It is very obvious that the successor needs to be stronger than today’s model, and we understand that better than anybody else, and we will do everything we can, with modern technology.” The new Commodore is expected to switch from the rear-wheel drive layout it has used for the majority of its life to a new front-wheel drive platform from the next-generation Opel Insignia. But Jacoby says the Holden version will look and drive differently than its platform mate. The Australian design team who played a key role in the design of the Buick Avenir and Chevrolet Bolt concepts will have a say in how the next Commodore will look like. As for the move to front-wheel drive, Jacoby said this; “I’m coming from a front-wheel-drive group, the VW/Audi group, and with this company we don’t believe there is a true disadvantage between a front-wheel-drive Audi at the time with BMW rear-wheel drive. I think it depends on how much you can bring to the road, in respect of sportiness, and active driving and not necessarily a decision on whether it is front- or rear-wheel drive.” Source: CarAdvice.com.au, Drive.com.au View full article
  20. It seems America isn't the only place that is interested in the Toyota Tundra. CarAdvice.com.au reports there is “enormous demand” for the Tundra in Australia. Speaking with Tony Cramb, Toyota AU's executive director of sales and marketing said there was room for a larger truck. But there are two key items withholding the Tundra from the Australian marketplace. “We have an enormous demand for a Tundra here in Australia, there’s no doubt if we could get a diesel Tundra, then I think we’d sell 100 a month. But regrettably because it’s manufactured in the States, it’s unlikely to happen that way," said Cramb “… We’ve had strong requests at dealer meetings to get the Tundra here, and we have made representation. But when it comes down to it, because it’s not LHD here, and because it’s petrol, in the end it’s very hard to make the case.” For now, those who are interested in buying a Tundra in Australia can visit an importer and pick up one for around 120,000 AUD (about $94,000). Source: CarAdvice.com.au View full article
  21. And then there were none. Toyota announced today at their Altona plant on the western outskirts of Melbourne that the company would end local production in 2017 and transition into a sales and distribution company. The move will affect 2,500 manufacturing jobs. "This is devastating news for all of our employees who have dedicated their lives to the company during the past 50 years,"said Toyota Australia President and CEO Max Yasuda. "While we have been undertaking the enormous task of transforming our business during the past two years, our people have joined us on the same journey, which makes it even more difficult to announce this decision. We did everything that we could to transform our business, but the reality is that there are too many factors beyond our control that make it unviable to build cars in Australia. Although the company has made profits in the past, our manufacturing operations have continued to be loss making despite our best efforts." The decision comes a few months after Holden and Ford announcing they would be shuttering their production operations in Australia and become a a sales and distribution company. Toyota's reasoning behind the closing is the same as Ford and Holden; the high value of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, and new free trade agreements. Source: Drive.com.au, Toyota William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 10 February 2014 TOYOTA AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES FUTURE PLAN FOR LOCAL MANUFACTURING Toyota Australia today announced that it will stop building cars in Australia by the end of 2017 and become a national sales and distribution company. This means that local manufacturing of the Camry, Camry Hybrid and Aurion vehicles, as well as the production of four cylinder engines, will cease by the end of 2017. The decision was not based on any single factor. The market and economic factors contributing to the decision include the unfavourable Australian dollar that makes exports unviable, high costs of manufacturing and low economies of scale for our vehicle production and local supplier base. Together with one of the most open and fragmented automotive markets in the world and increased competitiveness due to current and future Free Trade Agreements, it is not viable to continue building cars in Australia. Toyota Australia President and CEO, Max Yasuda, was joined by Toyota Motor Corporation President and CEO, Akio Toyoda, as he made the announcement to employees late this afternoon. "This is devastating news for all of our employees who have dedicated their lives to the company during the past 50 years," Mr Yasuda said. "While we have been undertaking the enormous task of transforming our business during the past two years, our people have joined us on the same journey, which makes it even more difficult to announce this decision "We did everything that we could to transform our business, but the reality is that there are too many factors beyond our control that make it unviable to build cars in Australia. "Although the company has made profits in the past, our manufacturing operations have continued to be loss making despite our best efforts. "Our focus will now be to work with our employees, suppliers, government and the unions as we transition to a national sales and distribution company. Support services will be available to our employees and we will do everything that we can to minimise the impact of this decision on our employees and suppliers." Mr Yasuda said approximately 2,500 employees directly involved with manufacturing will be impacted when the plant stops building cars in 2017. There will also be an impact on the company's corporate divisions, which will be studied over the coming months to determine what roles and functions will remain in the future. Mr Yasuda said that Toyota was also committed to providing support to the industry as it prepares for the end of vehicle manufacturing in Australia. "We will work with our key stakeholders to determine how to provide the best support to our employees, suppliers and local communities during the coming years," Mr Yasuda said. "Not only do we need to ensure our local suppliers and employees can plan for their future, we also need to make sure that we continue to produce high quality vehicles and engines for our domestic and export customers." Toyota Australia will continue to be involved in its local communities and employ thousands of people both directly and indirectly via its extensive dealership network. It is the company's intention to import the Camry and Aurion vehicles beyond 2017, along with the entire range of Toyota passenger and commercial vehicles. View full article
  22. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com July 19, 2013 With the recent news of Ford shuttering its Australian operations, the question arose of what would happen with the Ford Performance Vehicle (FPV) division. That division which was founded in 2002 has created some of the fastest Ford vehicles down in Australia. Well it seems that FPV will be closing up shop. A source at Ford tells Drive.com.au that FPV will be shuttered when the final iteration of the Falcon is launched next year. No word on how many jobs will be lost. In 2012 when Ford got full ownership of FPV, the company removed 32 jobs and move the rest into Ford Australia's internal operations. "We are not in a position to comment on FPV and any future product plans at this point," said Ford Australia spokesman, Neil McDonald. After FPV is disbanded, Ford will still serve fans of Fast Ford by resurrecting the Falcon XR8 which will utilize the same supercharged V8 engine, Brembo brakes, and sports suspension found on the current FPV GT Falcon. After that, no one is really sure. McDonald told Drive that Ford's global vice president of sales and marketing, Jim Farley would be in Australia next month to outline some of the coming changes. Source: Drive.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  23. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 23, 2013 Some sad news to report from Australia today. Ford Australia announced that they will be shutting down operations on October 16, 2016. The shut down will close two factories - Broadmeadows and Geelong in Victoria - and cause the loss of 1,200 jobs. During a press conference, Ford Australia President and CEO Bob Graziano explained the company could not keep building vehicles in a country in the country after reporting a loss of $141 million after tax last year, and losses totaling more than $600 million in the past five years. "Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia. The business case simply did not stack up, leading us to the conclusion that manufacturing is not viable for Ford in Australia in the long-term," Graziano said. In a statement, Ford said they looked at all possibilities, including an extensive export program and manufacturing various types and combinations of vehicles for the marketplace. “We did not leave any stone unturned but even with these assumptions the business case did not stack up,” said Graziano. Ford says they will still maintain a presence in Australia through 1,500 team members, including designers and engineers, and more than 200 dealers. The company also announced updated versions of the Falcon sedan, Falcon Ute and Territory SUV. Source: Ford William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Important announcement from Ford Australia Thu, May 23, 2013 Ford Accelerates Australian Business Transformation Ford is transforming its Australian business by accelerating the introduction of new products for Australian customers, enhancing the sales and service experience, and improving its business efficiency and profitability To better position the company to compete in a highly fragmented and competitive market, Ford will cease local manufacturing in October 2016. All entitlements are protected for the 1200 employees whose jobs are affected, and the company will work through the next three years to provide support Ford will proceed with plans to launch updated versions of the Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory in 2014, as well as offering other world-class products, such as the Ford Kuga, Ranger and Focus. The company will also strengthen its product lineup even further with a 30 per cent increase in the number of new vehicles offered to Australian customers by 2016 Ford’s presence in Australia will remain significant – with 1500 team members, more than 200 dealers nationwide and a continued strong commitment to supporting the communities in which the company operates MELBOURNE, Australia, 23 May 2013 – Ford Motor Company is transforming its business operations in Australia to provide customers with even more new products, and improved sales and service, while creating a more efficient and profitable business structure. Ford announced the plan today, including its intention to cease its local manufacturing operations in October 2016. The decision on local manufacturing was driven by increasingly challenging market conditions – including market fragmentation and the high cost of manufacturing. Ford losses in Australia in the last five years have totaled approximately $600 million (AUD). “All of us at Ford remain committed to our long history of serving Australian customers with the very best vehicles that deliver cutting edge technology at an affordable cost,” said Bob Graziano, president and CEO of Ford Australia. “Unfortunately, due to challenging market conditions we are unable to do that longer-term while continuing to manufacture locally.” Support for Employees Approximately 1200 jobs in Ford’s Broadmeadows and Geelong manufacturing plants will become redundant when manufacturing at those sites ceases in 2016. All manufacturing employees’ benefits will be provided in line with current agreements. During the next three years, Ford will work with affected employees and their representatives on support arrangements and provide clarity about the closure process. “We know this announcement is very difficult, especially for our employees,” said Graziano. “Providing support to those in our team whose roles will be affected is a key priority for us during this three-year transition period.” Future vision for Ford Australia While the way Ford is structured is changing, Ford’s commitment to Australia remains strong. “Ford will remain a significant employer in Australia, with more than 1500 team members, as will our network of more than 200 dealers around the country,” said Graziano. “The Australian team’s role as a global centre of excellence for vehicle development also will continue to be an important focus for us.” Australia is currently one of four product development hubs for Ford globally. Recently, the Australian team has been responsible for designing, engineering and testing global vehicles, including the Ford Ranger and Ford Figo, and will continue this expertise. Today, Ford has more than 1000 team members in product development in Australia, giving the company more designers and engineers than any other auto company in Australia. “Our customers will buy and service Ford vehicles through the same great dealers we have throughout the country today, and we will continue to support the communities in which we operate,” said Graziano. Decision follows comprehensive review process Given the changing dynamics of the auto industry, a number of business scenarios were reviewed during the past year to determine next steps for Ford’s Australian business. All viable alternatives were evaluated as part of the process including manufacturing various types and combinations of vehicles for local sale as well as the viability of a significant export program. The scenarios investigated also included varying levels of government support, manufacturing cost reductions and productivity improvements. Australia has annual sales of approximately 1.1 million new vehicles, and customers have access to more than 65 brands and 365 models available for sale. This makes Australia one of the most competitive and crowded automotive markets in the world. “Given the fragmented marketplace and the low model volumes that result, we decided that manufacturing locally is no longer viable,” said Graziano. More New Products As part of the transformation, Ford has aggressive plans to introduce even more new products for Australian customers – including a 30 per cent increase in the number of new vehicles offered to Australian customers by 2016. That is in addition to already announced new versions of the Ford Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory, as well the new Ford Kuga, Ranger and Focus. “We will be introducing a number of exciting new vehicles and technologies during the next few years that will excite our Australian customers,” said Graziano. “The breadth of our line-up will increase by more than 30 per cent, ensuring we continue to offer our customers an outstanding range of cars, SUVs and light trucks long into the future.” Upgraded Sales and Service Experience Ford also is significantly enhancing its approach to the sales and service experience. The company has appointed a dedicated Consumer Experience team to introduce a series of initiatives to provide customers with even better after-sales care. “We have a range of projects under way to significantly enhance our customer’s experience with Ford,” said Graziano. “This includes one of the only programs in Australia that provides a capped price on all servicing costs for seven years.” Ford continues to be part of Australian communities “Ford vehicles have been part of the automotive landscape in Australia for almost 110 years and we have manufactured here since 1925. We are proud of that history. We are proud of our role in Australia and we haven’t made this decision lightly. “Overall, we are changing, but our commitment to Australia remains strong. We’ll move through this transition and continue to be a vibrant and strong part of the Australian driving experience,” said Graziano. View full article
  24. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 5, 2013 General Motors and Holden are instating a new plan for the new Chevrolet to help to protect Holden’s South Australian workforce and making sure the critical export program has a “bullet proof” long-term future. The plan outlined by GM's North American President Mark Reuss to Drive.com.au has Holden's factory in Adelaide building an SS once an order is placed and then shipped off to the U.S. This process means a ninety-day wait for the vehicle to arrive, but it also means there will not be a fire sale due to the abundance of vehicles sitting on dealer lots (see Pontiac GTO and G8). “It’s all about building a consistent order bank for Adelaide so that we don’t put people on and then take them off again,” Reuss said. “I went through all of that before, and it was awful. And that’s because it just wasn’t the right business. Source: Drive.com.au William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  25. Could The Next Gen Holden Commodore Be The Last To Be Born In Australia? William Maley - Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com November 3, 2011 The next generation Holden Commodore could be the last one worked on in Australia. A report in The Australian Financial Review quotes a union official from The Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia saying: "GM Holden has canvassed not continuing to work on new model Commodores beyond [2014]." This report has caused Holden to go on massive damage control. Holden spokeswoman Emily Perry told Drive that company "has not taken any decisions yet" regarding the future design, engineering and production of the Commodore and the report contained significant "misinformation". "We are reviewing our options and it's been a breach of trust in the union going and talking about those discussions and spreading misinformation. No decisions have been taken about our future models – the general news isn't as familiar with our products and the union have put out misinformation saying model year 2014 - that is absolutely not correct." Chris Walton, CEO of The Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia said, "The Commodore is Australia's most popular car right now because it has been designed by Australian engineers for Australian conditions. We call on the Australian public to show their support for the Australian engineered Holden Commodore and buy one now before they are made in the USA or China or Korea." The Commodore has been Australia's best selling car for the past fifteen years, but has been in decline for the past decade to people going towards SUVs and smaller vehicles. Also, building a vehicle in Australia is very expensive and the government has been offering incentives to help keep engineering and production there. "Our plan is to build, design and engineer cars in this country," said Mike Devereux, Holden chairman and managing director on Melbourne radio station 3AW. Devereux called on the Australian government to reinstate a co-investment scheme similar to the now defunct Green Car Innovation Fund. "I want the government of this country ... to fully understand that you are competing against Germany, Brazil, Russia, India and China," Devereux said. "There isn't a place on the planet ... where you either don't have co-investment or tariffs. What I suggest is a solid co-investment program. That is the way the game is played. If people find that distasteful, I can't control that; that is the way the global auto industry works." However, Devereux didn't say anything on design and engineering jobs staying in Australia for long term and where the next generation Commodore would be produced, only saying there were "no guarantees in life or anything". Source: Drive.com.au Statement from Holden Below Holden Statement 2011-11-03 Holden has today responded to speculation regarding future model development in Australia. The issues being raised in the media relate to confidential discussions with the engineering union, APESMA, as part of the enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) negotiations which are currently under way. This speculation also relates to decisions for new products - which Australians won’t see until closer to the end of the decade – and these decisions have not been finalised yet. Holden leadership has been very open with employees, unions, media and government about some of the options and the challenges the company faces in the local market, as well as from global competition for capital investment in this country and in the regulatory environment. However, Holden does not comment on its EBA negotiations in the media, nor do we speculate about very long-term future models and we certainly don't intend to give our global competitors a free kick. Holden has very good working relationships with its unions - particularly through some of the most challenging times with shared shift arrangements in our manufacturing workforce and helping to secure Cruze production in Elizabeth at the height of the GFC. Attributable to Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mike Devereux

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