SYDNEY Dec 6 General Motors Co has
decided to pull out of vehicle production in Australia as early
as 2016, local media reported on Friday, in what would be a
major blow to the struggling industry.
Citing unnamed senior government sources, the Australian
Broadcasting Corp said an announcement on the decision to close
was supposed to have been made this week but had been put off
until early next year.
A GM spokesman in Detroit declined to comment on the
Both Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and shadow minister
Kim Carr said they understood no decision had been made.
Australia's auto industry has been under pressure for years
as high costs, a strong local dollar, weak exports and tough
international competition take a toll.
It has been propped up by billions of dollars in government
support, support that has become less certain since Tony
Abbott's conservative government won power in September.
The Australian automotive industry employs more than 50,000
people and supports 200,000 other manufacturing jobs. Any exit
by Holden is likely to affect the economies of scale at Toyota
"This is an eco-system. If one goes, it's only a matter of
time before the whole lot goes," Carr told reporters on Friday.
In May, Ford Motor Co will shut its two Australian
auto plants in October 2016, following the exit of Mitsubishi
Motors in 2008.