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All-New Commodore Tops Holden's $6.1 Billion Decade Investment in Australia

Darren

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GM Holden’s $1.2 billion investment in the VE Commodore and WM Statesman and Caprice programs is part of a $6.1 billion commitment to General Motors’ Australian operations over the past 10 years.

A new $400 million engine plant in Victoria, $532 million in works for the South Australian assembly operations since 2000 and acceptance of global development roles have been among benefits for the Australian economy.

GM Holden has built on its position as the country’s largest automotive manufacturer and employer as well as being the highest private sector spender on research and development.

The local division of the world’s largest car company, General Motors, also holds global responsibilities for rear-wheel-drive engineering development and vehicle design for future programs outside Australia.

The investment serves GM’s interests around the world, as about 40 per cent of cars and 60 per cent of all engines produced by GM Holden last year were sent overseas.

By comparison, GM Holden’s $6.1 billion investment could have funded three complete City Link road projects in Melbourne at $2 billion each or four M7 Motorways in Sydney at $1.5 billion each.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney, today said VE Commodore was a massive investment and vote of confidence in the future of the Australian car industry.

“Having the first $1 billion car program in Australia shows how serious General Motors is about its operations here,” Mr Mooney said.

“Automotive companies must make massive decisions regarding their manufacturing operations over an extremely long timeframe. Holden Commodore has been Australia’s best seller for a decade and we have invested heavily to ensure that continues.

“Australian carmakers are operating in a robust environment and a relatively stable industrial relations landscape which helps our cause.

“It is also worth noting that GM is not just investing for the Australian car market because the cars, engines and expertise in Australia are being sent around the world.”

The $6.1 billion investment by GM Holden since 1996 includes $3.7 billion in direct product program and related costs and $2.4 billion in broader infrastructure.

It is one of the largest commitments by any private sector business to its Australian operations and outstrips many of the country’s largest capital programs by a wide margin. The VE and WM program commitment reached $1.23 billion, including $1.04 billion for VE and $190 million for WM.
 

Darren

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Mr Mooney said the future of Australia’s automotive industry relied on local carmakers and suppliers seeking ways to be innovative and add value, rather than simply competing on cost.

“Australia has a place in the world as a smart nation. Car and component makers, as with other parts of industry, need to capitalise on that rather than fighting battles they cannot win on cost alone,” he said.

“GM Holden has decades of expertise in designing, engineering and manufacturing rear-wheeldrive vehicles which are the cornerstone of our existence in this country.

“VE Commodore was a massive investment and the key to protecting our future in Australia. It has also helped us expand our responsibilities beyond Australia and contribute Australian know-how to GM programs around the world.

"The competitiveness of the Australian automotive industry is crucial to the 8000 people employed by GM Holden and the many thousands of people in the components industry. The best way to achieve it is to have a globally competitive car such as VE Commodore.

“It has allowed us to secure and grow export markets in every continent except Antarctica and be a part of GM’s consideration for new vehicle programs in the future.”

As a total spend, Holden’s investment in Australia over the past 10 years dwarfs capital programs in other industries. For comparison, the same investment could have funded any of the following -

  • Three complete Melbourne City Link road projects at $2 billion
  • Four M7 Motorways in Sydney at $1.5 billion each
  • More than 13 Telstra Domes in Melbourne at $450 million each
  • More than eight Telstra Stadiums in Sydney at $690 million each
  • More than four Adelaide-Darwin rail links at $1.3 billion each
  • Almost nine Sydney Cross-City Tunnels at $680 million each
  • Twenty-seven Brisbane inner city bypasses at $220 million
  • Almost eight Basslink undersea power cables at $780 million each

About Holden – key data

Holden employed 8200 people at the end of 2005, making it Australia’s largest automotive employer. GM Holden’s total Australian retail sales of 174,464 units achieved 17.7 per cent market share in a record industry year of 988,269 units. Within this result, GM Holden achieved leadership of the passenger and light commercial markets and Commodore was Australia’s top selling car for the tenth consecutive year.

GM Holden’s Elizabeth plant in South Australia produced a total of 152,646 vehicles, which was Australia’s largest automotive manufacturing result. GM Holden set an all-time company vehicle export record of 60,518 vehicles. It exported to all continents except Antarctica, prepared for GM brands including Chevrolet, Pontiac, Vauxhall, Buick and GM Daewoo.

GM Holden Engine Operations in Victoria produced 315,670 four and six-cylinder engines. Production at its $400 million Global V6 plant included engines for Holden, Saab and Alfa Romeo. Total engine exports were 198,649.
 
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