By The Nation
The automaker also announced it would wind down sales, design and engineering operations in Australia and New Zealand and retire the Holden brand by 2021. The company will focus its strategies on the GM speciality vehicle business.
“I’ve often said that we will do the right thing, even when it’s hard, and this is one of those times,” said GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We are restructuring our international operations, focusing on markets where we have the right strategies to drive robust returns, and prioritising global investments that will drive growth in the future of mobility, especially in the areas of EVs [electric vehicles] and AVs [autonomous vehicles].
“While these actions support our global strategy, we understand that they impact people who have contributed so much to our company. We will support our people, our customers and our partners to ensure an orderly and respectful transition in the impacted markets,” she said.
GM had undertaken a detailed analysis of production at its Rayong manufacturing facility. Low plant utilisation and forecast volumes have made continued GM production at the site unsustainable. Without domestic manufacturing, Chevrolet is unable to compete in Thailand’s new-vehicle market, the firm said.
GM senior vice president and president Steve Kiefer said these decisions build on the announcement in January that the automaker would sell its Talegaon manufacturing facility in India, conduct significant restructuring in Korea, and invest in South American operations.
“These are difficult decisions, but they are necessary to support our goal to have the GM International region on the pathway to growth and profitability,” Kiefer said.
In Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and related export markets, customers can be assured that GM will honour all warranties and continue to provide servicing and spare parts, the firm said. Local operations will also continue to handle all recall and any safety-related issues, working with appropriate governmental agencies.
As a result of these actions in Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, the company expects to incur net cash charges of approximately $300 million (Bt9.34 billion). The company expects to record total cash and non-cash charges of $1.1 billion. These charges will primarily be incurred in the first quarter and continue through the fourth.