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Holden safe as GM cuts 14,000 jobs

By Tim Robson, 28 Nov 2018 Car News

Holden safe as parent company axes 14,000 jobs

Holden’s Australian engineering and design teams are safe despite huge cuts to parent company General Motors’ workforce in the US and Canada; President Trump threatens GM over plant closures

Holden has confirmed overnight that the Australian arm of General Motors will be spared from the latest round of cutbacks announced yesterday in the United States. 

Five GM plants – including its largest in Canada – will be shuttered in 2019, while the company is looking to reduce its North American workforce by more than 14,000.

Though the plant wind-backs will affect a number of GM models – in particular its sedan line-up – Holden confirmed that none of its current range, including the Tennessee-built Acadia 7-seat SUV and Mexican-sourced Equinox SUV, will be impacted.

“While the vast majority of steps announced overnight apply directly to North American operations, GM Holden continues to support GM’s global business objective by implementing its strategy to operate a lean National Sales Company focused on strengthening the Holden brand and growing sales,” Holden said in a statement issued overnight.

“GM is taking actions to support profitability and give flexibility to invest for the future. These are important measures to position the company for long-term success.”

Read MORE: Holden silent as parent company closes plants

As well, Holden reiterated that its local design and engineering team will not be impacted, despite GM referencing a change to its global planning strategy going forward.

MORE Holden one year on from its factory closure

“These announcements are not related to Holden’s product portfolio which remains unchanged and is the best and most comprehensive in our history,” read the statement.

“Holden’s local engineering and design capability was further strengthened earlier this year with investments at the Lang Lang Proving Ground and in Advanced Vehicle Development.”

READ MORE Holden’s struggle for survival

Holden announced in August it would add 150 engineers to its Advanced Vehicle Development team, as part of a $120 million plan to accelerate research and development in autonomous, ride-sharing and electric vehicle technologies. 

“We’re going to employ more Australians in this country,” new Holden managing director Dave Buttner told journalists at the time. “Our dealers see that, our employees see that. It buoys them, it lifts their heads to focus more strongly on the task ahead of us.”

Read next: Those GM Plant Closures in Numbers

Meanwhile, US president Donald Trump has told GM to replace the plant it’s planning to close in Lordstown, Ohio, saying “it had better put something else in”. Mr Trump actively campaigned in the area, telling residents in 2016 “don’t move. Don’t sell your house. The jobs are coming back.”

He has also previously threatened to impose a “big border tax” on GM products built outside the US.

The Lordstown plant builds the Chevrolet Cruze sedan for the US, which is on track to shed almost 50 per cent of its 2014 sales of 250,000 cars by the end of this year. Cheap fuel prices in the US and the rise of the SUV has seen many companies including Ford to strip sedans from their catalogues.