General Motors announced overnight that it is leaving South Africa completely, and that it will cease sales of Chevrolet vehicles in India.
The company will stop producing Chevrolet vehicles, primarily the Spark and Utility, at its South African plant in Struandale, Port Elizabeth. The Chevrolet brand will be withdrawn from the South African market by the end of 2017.
Above: Chevrolet Utility ‘bakkie’.
Isuzu will purchase the Struandale factory, as well as General Motors’ 30 per cent stake in their joint venture truck company. The Japanese company will also buy the General’s Vehicle Conversion and Distribution Centre, and its parts distribution operation.
In a statement, General Motors said it will “work with PSA Group to evaluate future opportunity for the Opel brand in South Africa”. At present, the Opel Adam, Corsa, Astra and Mokka are sold in South Africa.
As part of a deal announced in February, Isuzu will purchase General Motors’ 57.7 per cent stake in their joint venture facility in Kenya. This could strengthen Isuzu’s position as that country’s number one automotive brand.
As with the other regions announced today, the Chevrolet brand will leave the East African market by the end of 2017.
While General Motors is selling up and leaving South Africa entirely, it plans to keep its Talegaon plant in Maharashtra state open.
Kaher Kazen, managing director of GM India, “GM India’s export business has tripled over the past year. Exports will remain our focus going forward as we continue to leverage India’s strong supply base.
“We recently launched the new Chevrolet Beat hatchback for export to Mexico and Central and South American markets and will launch the Chevrolet Beat sedan later this year for those markets.
According to the company’s Indian website, the company’s “product plan has four to five years of forecast exports”.
Above: Indian market Chevrolet Enjoy.
The factory will, however, cease producing cars for the local market, and the Chevrolet brand will be retired by the end of 2017.
In explaining its plans for India, Stefan Jacoby, head of GM International, said, “We determined that the increased investment required for an extensive and flexible product portfolio would not deliver a leadership position or long-term profitability in the domestic market.”
General Motors shuttered its Halol factory at the end of April this year, and is looking to sell the site. The company says the GM Technical Centre-India in Bengaluru, which does engineering work for the company globally, is not affected by today’s news.
General Motors says it will also “streamline its regional headquarters office” in Singapore. This location has strategic oversight for the company’s remaining operations in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, India, and South East Asia.
These latest moves are part of the company’s drive to pare back its overseas operations, especially those that are losing money and have poor future prospects.
Above: Chevrolet Niva.
As we all know, Holden will cease local manufacturing later this year, and become a full-line vehicle importer. The company has also closed its Indonesian factory, and withdrawn the Chevrolet and Opel brands from Russia.