GM says to end manufacturing in Australia by end-2017

Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:27pm EST

Dec 11 (Reuters) - General Motors Co said it would end vehicle and engine manufacturing in Australia by the end of 2017, dealing a severe blow to the country's auto sector.

"As part of its ongoing actions to decisively address the performance of its global operations, General Motors today announced it would transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand," the company said in a statement dated Dec. 10 and received on Wednesday Asia-Pacific time.

The announcement came only one day after the head of GM's Holden unit said in Melbourne that the automaker had made no decision on whether to stop making cars in Australia after 2016 and would need more assistance from the Australian government to survive long term.

There have been widespread concerns that an exit by GM Holden would be followed by Toyota Motor Co, causing a collapse of the entire domestic industry, supporting more than 40,000 workers and 150 supplier companies.

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