GM Holden Ltd. is tightening its belt as bargain car prices and a rising Australian dollar cut into its income.

Chairman Denny Mooney warns Holden workers of tough times ahead due to continued price cuts that are placing ongoing pressure on cost-containment efforts.

Holden exports Pontiac GTO to U.S.

"The message we have given the employees is really about cost pressures and cost containment,” he says. “It's an issue everyone deals with in the industry."

Sales and Marketing Director Ross McKenzie says Holden has lost A$85 million ($65 million) per year in export income because of the rise of the Australian dollar. Three years ago, Holden was looking at its export business returning as much as A$100 million ($76 million).

“Purely based on where exchange rates have gone, the same business today is earning about A$15 million ($11.4 million)," he says.

Nevertheless, McKenzie says Holden is confident it can overtake Toyota Motor Corp. Australia Ltd. to become the year’s market leader. Toyota was Australia's top-selling brand in May, but the Holden Commodore remained the nation's best-selling vehicle for the 20th month in a row. (See related story: Toyota Leads Oz Industry to Record May Sales)