It’s looking increasingly unlikely that local assembly of the Holden Cruze will continue until the company’s planned production shutdown at the end of 2017, meaning an early exit for potentially hundreds of manufacturing workers.
GM executive vice president and president of GM International Stefan Jacoby refused to confirm the Cruze would continue to be built alongside the Commodore until the end of local production at Holden’s manufacturing plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, when asked by CarAdvice late last week.
“It’s very much depending on our future product strategy and we cannot comment at this point,” Jacoby said, offering only that the company remained “committed to maintaining our manufacturing here in Australia until the end of 2017”.
Holden corporate affair executive director George Svigos did little to refute the suggestion that Cruze production will wind up before the closure of the South Australian plant, which is still more than two and a half years away.
“It’s no secret from the announcements we’ve made that we’re phasing down manufacturing over a number of years and there will be different lots of redundancies over certain periods in response to market demand,” Svigos said.
“We’ll continue to look at the balance of supply and demand.
“We are also in discussions with government and other agencies and are ensuring that whenever that happens for our employees that the right supports are in place for them to help them to transition to new roles or new jobs.”
CarAdvice first reported that the future of the Australian-made Cruze was under a cloud of uncertainty 12 months ago after our spy photographers snapped a camouflaged prototype of the next-generation Chinese-market Cruze sedan (pictured above).
Prototypes of the next US-spec Cruze sedan – the successor to the car currently sold in the US and Australia – have since been spied undergoing testing.
The second-gen Cruze is built on an entirely new platform, dubbed D2XX, that will be shared with the next-generation Opel Astra.
Holden will not fit its factory with new equipment to build the new Cruze for what would be two years or less, which means its only options are to continue building the first-generation model until the end of 2017 or end production early.
The Cruze is currently in its eighth year of production, and will be almost a decade old of Holden continues making it up until 2017.
US reports have suggested the new model could potentially debut as early as April’s New York motor show.
As we reported in our 2020 Holden showroom feature last month, the next-generation Cruze appears a strong chance to be imported when the current model is phased out.
The new model would complement the Europe-sourced Astra, which Holden is introducing in three-door GTC and VXR grades in April, and is expected to launch the regular five-door hatchback variants of the new-generation model in 2016 to bolster its small car line-up.
Holden has already begun rationalising its Cruze range. The car maker cut the Cruze’s engine range in half when it launched the facelifted range last month, axing the 1.4-litre turbo petrol and 2.0-litre turbo diesel engines.
Cruze sales plummeted 24 per cent last year to 18,554, falling from 24,421 in 2013. Sales have almost halved since 2011, when it tallied 33,784.
It started 2015 on a more positive note, however, with sales rising 34 per cent to 1870.