GM abandoning Australia?

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Words: Nile Bijoux
8 Feb 2019

Reports are emerging today hinting that Inchcape - responsible for bring brands like Subaru, Citroen and Peugeot to Australia - may take over importation of Opel product from General Motors.

Talks are in very early stages but an Australian source says that due diligence is underway.

Moving import duties to Inchcape would make sense for GM, which is in the middle of a worldwide cost-cutting exercise. The American is aiming to future-proof itself against a potential industry turndown. It has closed operations in Russia, the UK and Germany over the past two years, as well as shuttering plants and laying off more than 4000 staff in the US.

More than 30 Australian dealerships have closed their doors after the worst year of sales in decades, numbers dropping by nearly one-third. Holden currently holds 6.5 per cent of the Australian market, down from over 21 per cent in 2001.

The end result of Inchcape taking over importing duties could mean cheaper vehicles. Currently, fees for aspects like back-office functions are paid by Holden to its parent company. Inchcape could avoid these altogether, thereby reducing the sticker price.

However, because of recent investment in the Lang Lang proving grounds and the Melbourne design centre, GM may not cede Holden entirely. It may only allow Inchcape to import cars while retaining its engineering bases.

If a deal were to be struck - and there’s no guarantee it will be - Inchcape could become Australia’s second largest car importer, behind Toyota.

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