News - General Motors
Australia ‘vitally important to General Motors’
GM executives ‘optimistic’ about Holden’s production future after Carr meeting
28 Jun 2011
By TERRY MARTIN
SENIOR General Motors executives have reaffirmed the US auto giant’s commitment to Holden’s manufacturing operations in Australia, following a meeting with federal industry minister Kim Carr in Washington today.
GM’s vice-president for global public policy, Robert Ferguson, and vice-president of international government relations and public policy, Arturo Elias, met with the minister to discuss the company’s recent investments in Australia – aided by significant federal government funding – and “prospects for future growth, particularly with regard to exports”.
“Holden and our Australian facilities are vitally important to General Motors,” Mr Ferguson said. “We are optimistic about the Australian marketplace and the products produced there.
“The research and engineering done in Australia is benefiting the company worldwide. Sales of the Camaro – developed in Australia – are robust.
“We’re also optimistic about the new police cruiser, the Caprice, which is being introduced to the police departments in America’s markets.”
Earlier this week, Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux’s warned that the decision to axe the Green Car Innovation Fund (GCIF) threatened the industry’s long-term viability here.
Left: GM’s vice-president for global public policy, Robert Ferguson (top) and vice-president of international government relations and public policy, Arturo Elias.
In Washington, Senator Carr described the meeting with GM as “extremely positive”.
“I’m optimistic about the future of GM Holden in Australia and future opportunities for the Australian automotive industry,” he said.
“The Gillard government’s willingness to work in partnership with the automotive industry is clearly understood and appreciated internationally.
“The ‘New Car Plan for a Greener Future’ provides a basis for the continuing transformation of the industry and supports the development of a more competitive Australian manufacturing sector.”
Senator Carr will also meet Ford Motor Company executives in the United States this week, and has announced plans to meet GM and Ford regional management in China – and senior Toyota executives in Bangkok – later this year.
Mr Devereux, who is also the president of car industry’s peak industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), told ABC radio on Monday that the axing of the green-car fund “makes it very difficult to look forward to figure out where will that co-investment attraction come from in the future”.
“Australia is not a low-cost country. It also is a country with virtually zero import tariffs. So you've got relatively high costs, zero barriers to entry and in order for it to make sense to make things here there needs to be some, what I consider to be ‘smart industry policy’ which there was just a few years ago,” he said.
He later told ABC radio in Adelaide: “Australia cannot become a hole in the ground for south-east Asia to pull minerals out of and then shift finished goods back to this country.”
As GoAuto has reported, Holden has received $189 million in green-car handouts from the federal government – more than half of the $340 million dished out to car companies and automotive component suppliers to date.
The government axed the GCIF in January to help pay for Queensland’s flood reconstruction, although applications are still being processed.
28th of June 2011
Holden fires on Canberra as Carr hits DetroitHolden chief attacks federal green-car axing on eve of minister’s visit to US
20th of May 2011
More green car grants in the pipeline‘Significant’ federal grants still to come from defunct Green Car Fund, says Carr
19th of May 2011
Holden to dress Commodore in aluminiumCommodore to get aluminium panels and electric steering as Holden greens large car
1st of March 2011
Holden backs carbon taxHolden MD says impact on fuel prices would be minor, is keen to cut emissions
1st of March 2011
AMWU wants green car subsidies reinstatedUnion leader calls on the government to bring back the Green Car fund
9th of February 2011
Car industry copping it from both sides in CanberraFCAI pleads with Gillard and Abbott to stop raiding auto aid funds
Click to share
General Motors articles
Motor industry news