Just how long are the lights at General Motors' Australian subsidiary, Holden, going to remain on? According to a government report obtained by Australia's ABC and reported via the country's News.com.au website, not past 2016. The news comes mere months after Ford announced plans to end its production Down Under, killing the venerable Falcon sedan and Territory SUV.
But not everyone seems to be in agreement about word of the brand's closure – Australian government officials are denying the claim. "Consultations are continuing in good faith with Australian carmakers, the components industry and workers," a spokeswoman for Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said. "The Productivity Commission is continuing its work assessing the Australian automotive industry and will report to the government. That process is unchanged and will continue."
Shutting the doors at Holden in 2016 would line up with the end of production for the current Commodore, although Holden has denied any plans of shutting down. As news has circulated of the closure, Australian politicians, notably South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, have been fighting for government assistance for the struggling automaker. South Australia is home to all of Holden's engine manufacturing.
"It is now time for the Prime Minister to intervene because this cannot be allowed to continue. This ongoing speculation is incredibly damaging to Holden and to the workers," Weatherill said. South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon said, "This is not just about [South Australia]. This is about 50,000 jobs being lost."
If an announcement is going to be made, it's unlikely to come before December 20, which is when workers begin summer/holiday breaks. We've reached out to General Motors Australia to get an official statement, and will update this story if/when we hear more.
UPDATE: A GM Australia spokesperson told us in an email: "We do not respond to speculation. Our discussions with government are continuing."