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Report: Holden quits Oz by 2016

By James Stanford, 06 Dec 2013 Industry

Wheels magazine, Ford, Mustang, new, all-new, model, performance, muscle car, Falcon, Australia,

Today was supposed to be the day that Holden's great export hope was launched in the US city of Palm Springs.

Today was supposed to be the day that Holden's great export hope was launched in the US city of Palm Springs.

It went well, with US journalists praising the car, until the event was overshadowed by the news that an Australian government source believes Holden has made the decision to close its local manufacturing operations.

Holden spokeswoman Andrea Matthews, who is at the Chevrolet SS launch, has stated that the company would not comment on speculation.

Chevrolet executives also refused to comment, even though shutting the Elizabeth plant in 2016 would mean the Chevrolet SS it is launching would only be on sale in the US for three years.

In Australia, the federal government appears to be preparing Australians for a Holden withdrawal although it is not yet prepared to publicly confirm the company's position.

If the story is wrong and GM has not yet made a decision, it will soon, given comments made by prime minister Tony Abbott today.

GM has been seeking a substantially larger sum than the $275 million it was allocated in 2012, making it clear that without the extra money, it would pull the pin on its plants in Elizabeth and Melbourne.

Today, Abbott confirmed the government would not offer Holden any more money, preempting a preliminary report by the Productivity Commission that was due on December 20.

"There's not going to be any extra money over and above the generous support the taxpayers have been giving the motor industry," Mr Abbott said. Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary, Paul Bastian, isn't giving up yet and called on the Prime Minister to avert a Holden shutdown.

"There are too many jobs at risk, the Prime Minister has to step in," Bastian said. "This industry is critical to Australia's manufacturing sector, and tens of thousands of people's lives. If we lose it, we're looking at a $21 billion hole in the economy."