General Motors announced yesterday that it’s pulling out of “markets that don’t produce adequate returns on investments,” namely Thailand, New Zealand and Australia. The carmaker said in a statement that it will wind down sales, engineering and design operations for its historic Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand in 2021. It also plans to sell its Rayong factory in Thailand to China’s Great Wall Motors and withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of 2020.
US General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the company wants to focus on markets that provide strong returns. She says the company will support its employees and customers in the transition. The company will scale back operations in all three countries to selling niche specialty vehicles, and also make the same move in Japan, Russia and Europe, where “we don’t have significant scale.”
“We are pursuing a niche presence by selling profitable high-end imported vehicles supported by a lean GM structure.”
GM says it will honor all warranties in the markets, and continue to provide service and parts. Local operations will handle any recalls and safety-related issues, the statement said.
In August of last year General Motors Thailand announced was its cutting 327 jobs at its Rayong plants, part of a plan to reduce operating costs and slim down the manufacturing facility. There were widespread reports on social media at the time that GM Thailand laid off both regular and contract workforce. Of the total cuts, 141 jobs were regular employees.
Meanwhile, China’s Great Wall Motor announced today it has signed a binding agreement to purchase a car plant from General Motors in Thailand. Great Wall said in a statement it expects to complete transaction of Rayong car plant, currently operated by GM, by the end of 2020. GM also says it is rearranging global operations.
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