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'No business case' for car manufacturing in Aust: GM boss

14 January, 2015

The closure of Holden's factories in South Australia and Victoria was the best move by the automaker, General Motors boss Stefan Jacoby has said.

Jacoby also claimed former Holden boss Mike Devereux, who pushed to retain Holden's assembly line for two years and for a $200 million increase in government funding, in fact favoured the operational shutdown.

Speaking to local reporters in Detroit, Jacoby said he didn't deem Devereux a "supporter of local manufacturing". He was asked whether he thought GM had made the correct decision to call curtains on Holden's Elizabeth factory.

"I think so. You have identified me as the one who made the call for stepping out of manufacturing in Australia. Yes, I am the guy who made finally this decision and presented this to the board," he said.

"But I am of the strong opinion that this was the right thing for Australia and this was the best thing for Holden overall."

Government incentives not a game changer

Jacoby attributed Holden's end to the decrease of import tariffs and the Commonwealth government's decision to sign Free Trade Agreements, and would have proceeded irrespective of government incentives.

"The decision was not made based on government policy. With or without government incentives, it doesn't pencil," he said.

"Even if you add all the (government) incentives … it doesn't make sense to produce (cars locally).

"You cannot make that business case; that's the wrong decision."

He said it was a not a coincidence Toyota followed them down the same path less than two months later.

"Do you think they just (said): 'Holden made this decision, now we have to make a decision as well'? No they had this in their pocket as well," Jacoby said.

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