There are new signs of industry recovery as GM Holden Ltd. adds a second production shift at its Global V-6 engine facility in Port Melbourne, Australia, due to higher export demand.

The plant will increase its daily output from 240-320 engines to 440.

Martyn Cray, GM Holden Powertrain lead executive, says the production increase reflects improved export orders and a short-term rise in manufacturing volumes at GM Holden’s vehicle assembly plant in Adelaide, where the Commodore range of passenger vehicles is built.

“Holden has received an increase in orders for our Global V-6 engines, which are exported to markets including South Korea, China and Mexico, and we are lifting production of our engines as a result,” Cray says in a statement.

“We are also seeing increased local demand for (the) Commodore after launching the new advanced spark-ignition direct-injection engine in 3.0L and 3.6L variants.”

The engine plant moved to a single shift in June after a fall in volume resulting from the global financial crisis. Since then, production has held at a daily rate of 240 to 320 engines, depending on demand.

GM Holden says the daily rate will rise to 440 engines by the end of the year and hold steady through February.

“The past year has been an incredibly challenging time for Holden’s manufacturing workforce as they manage their lives around changes in our production schedule,” Cray says.

“We managed to retain a skilled workforce through difficult times because we were confident things would turnaround. We are now able to lift production from within our existing team.”

Holden Vehicle Operations at Elizabeth in South Australia will continue to operate on a single shift, building 340 vehicles a day. The rate was increased earlier this month from 310.

The additional volume is intended to meet an anticipated demand for vehicles ahead of the Dec. 31 deadline for the Australian government’s 50% investment tax allowance. It also will ensure cars are available to dealers through the Christmas shutdown period and into the new year.