Photo: AFP

General Motors announced on Monday that it would scrap the struggling Australian car brand Holden. Engineering, design and sales operations will be wound down in coming months.

The company, more than 150 years old, created Australia’s first local mass-produced vehicle and was a dominant brand in the country for decades, becoming a cultural touchstone Down Under.

In 2017, it followed Ford and Toyota in moving production offshore, marking the end of car manufacturing in the country.

GM’s senior vice president of international operations, Julian Blissett, said about 600 people would lose their jobs in the coming months as a result of ending the brand in Australia and New Zealand.

“This was an agonizing decision for us and one we didn’t make lightly or easily,” he said.

Blissett said GM had come to the realization that it was unable to make the “significant investment” required for Holden to be competitive and profitable in the long-term.

“With the global consolidation of the automotive industry, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for us to support a brand and a business that operates in just two markets,” he said.

GM said it would honor all after-sales commitments such as warranties and offer servicing and spare parts to Holden owners for at least 10 years.

With 1.6 million Holden cars still on the roads, about 200 people are expected to be kept on staff to carry out that work.

– AFP

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