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Holden quits: Car-maker's fate decided yesterday

It's over: Holden managing director Mike Devereux has addressed workers and the press, confirming the car-maker will cease production in 2017.

GM leadership team pulls plug on Holden’s future in late-afternoon call

Holden logo11 Dec 2013

By BARRY PARK

ALMOST 24 hours ago, Holden managing director Mike Devereux was standing on the back of a truck reassuring his 1500 Adelaide-based workers that the car-maker’s manufacturing business was still in with a chance.

Hours later, he was in a conference call with General Motors’ leadership team being told that Holden’s manufacturing future in Australia was no more.

Mr Devereux revealed today its US parent company made the decision to pull out of making cars in Australia “within hours” of his appearance before a Productivity Commission in Melbourne yesterday begging for more public handouts, and shortly after he gave a pep talk to the company’s workers to reassure them a decision was still pending.

Mr Devereux told a hastily convened press conference in Adelaide this afternoon that a “perfect storm” of a high Australian dollar and fierce local competition had led to the car-making business’s downfall.

“The decision was made yesterday afternoon, and as you can imagine my first port of call was to get on a plane and come here and share this decision with my employees,” Mr Devereux said.

“There was a review of Australia yesterday afternoon, and I got on the plane this morning and I am here in front of you this afternoon.”

Mr Devereux said Holden workers were told of the car-maker’s decision about 2pm today.

“GM has made this decision, and it is irreversible,” he said.

The press conference is continuing.

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