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Holden softens engineering cutbacks

Proving its worth: After reversing its decision to close the Lang Lang proving ground, Holden has now revealed that will hang on to a significant number of engineers, despite many having already left the company.

‘Significant’ number of engineering positions to remain at Holden beyond 2017

24 Aug 2015

GM HOLDEN is retaining a “significant” though unspecified number of engineering positions beyond the closure of its Australian manufacturing operations in 2017.

After deciding to keep its Lang Lang proving ground open beyond the company’s manufacturing exit – a decision taken some six months after announcing it would close the facility in conjunction with the production shutdown – Holden has now revealed it will hang on to a greater number of engineers than previously determined.

Many of Holden’s top engineering talent have already moved on to other companies, both here and abroad, after the company announced its closure plans in December 2013.

However, efforts are now being made to retain enough engineering capacity for ongoing work on General Motors programs.

“We can confirm there will be a significant number of engineering positions retained at GM Holden,” the company said in a statement this week.

“While this is good news, we are still working through project details and our staffing requirements.

“As always, we will work closely with our workforce as we determine exactly what is required. At that point, we will be able to make a full public announcement.”

The company would not confirm the numbers involved, whether particular areas of expertise are being retained – powertrain calibration, for example, as opposed to chassis – and why the change has come about.

Holden initially said that its engineering operations – including its Lang Lang proving ground – would be dismantled in conjunction with the closure of its vehicle and engine manufacturing operations, with external engineering firms to be used to tweak the suspension of the brand’s fully imported range.

In May last year the company reversed that decision, although only about 80 of the proving ground’s 130 employees were expected to remain once engineering programs started to dry up.

Around 700 product engineers and related staff at Holden’s Port Melbourne headquarters were also believed to be still facing redundancy.

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