GM Holden Ltd. expects no changes to its Australian and New Zealand operations as a result of parentCorp. filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York today.
“Operations at Holden are unchanged in Australia and New Zealand, and we expect it to remain that way,” Chairman and Managing Director Mark Reuss says in a statement.
“GM has clearly stated all of its businesses in the Asia Pacific region – and that includes (GM) Holden – continue normal operations and are not directly impacted by this process in the U.S.”
Reuss says no operations outside the U.S. are included in the court filing or court-supervised process.
“Holden is a subsidiary of GM, but we are a corporate entity in our own right – an independent company under Australian law,” he says. “Beyond that, GM has indicated Holden will be an important part of the New GM.
“We continue to run full operations at Elizabeth and Port Melbourne, producing cars for our 300-strong independent dealer network. We don’t anticipate this decision will have any direct impact on Holden’s workforce, dealers, or suppliers.”
GM Holden says in a statement it does not foresee any interruption to dealer or retail financing, and supplier payments remain unchanged. “Holden customer warranties are not affected, and we continue to deliver the sales and service experience that our customers expect.
“We wouldn’t normally issue statements to highlight nothing has changed, but we appreciate that customers will naturally ask questions about this sort of announcement from the U.S.”
GM Holden employs more than 6,000 workers in Australia and New Zealand and spends A$500 million ($405 million) annually on employee wages. Last financial year, it spent A$420 million ($340 million) on research and development – more than any other private company in Australia.
Some 36,500 Australian-built Pontiac G8s, based on the Holden VE Commodore, have been shipped to the U.S. since production began in early 2008. The deal was estimated to be worth A$1 billion ($703 million) a year in revenue for GM Holden.
However, GM in April said it planned to phase out the Pontiac line by the end of 2010, including the high-performance G8 sedan.
“Despite the filing, GM Asia Pacific – and that includes GM Holden – will have continued access not only to the intellectual property developed in Asia/Pacific, but also to the intellectual property developed elsewhere in the new global GM organization,” GM Holden says.
“We do not foresee any changes to GM Holden’s management.”
GM Holden also notes GM previously has indicated it is negotiating with prospective buyers for the Saab and Hummer brands. “GM is working closely with dealers, including those in Australia and New Zealand, to continue delivering (these) vehicles and maintaining aftersales and servicing requirements.”
Industry Minister Kim Carr tells the Australian Broadcasting Corp. he believes the Australian operations won't be affected.
“I take the view thatHolden is an asset General Motors Corp. regards very highly,” he says.