GM Holden Chief Sees Future for Auto Maker, Despite Industry Gloom

“The investment and projects we have in the pipeline are something you are going to be very impressed with over the next couple of years,” Mark Reuss tells an Australian newspaper.

GM Holden Ltd. has a long future in Australia and still will be building cars 20 years from now, Chairman and Managing Director Mark Reuss says during a recent visit to the auto maker’s assembly operation in Adelaide.

The Advertiser newspaper reports that amid the doom and gloom surrounding the auto industry worldwide, Reuss says GM Holden is one of General Motors Corp.’s shining lights. It is an Australian icon that the parent company, currently struggling to stave off bankruptcy in North America, takes very seriously.

“The investment and projects we have in the pipeline are something you are going to be very impressed with over the next couple of years,” he tells the newspaper.

The subsidiary, for example, plans to lead a new technology approach to large cars.

“It’s our job to pump life and alternative fuels into large cars here in Australia,” Reuss says. “We’ve got a great plan for technology that we’re going to introduce here. We make Australia’s best-selling car and we will continue to do that.”

However, there is no denying the challenges now facing the industry, including a 22% slide in vehicle sales in Australia in November, he says.

GM Holden is operating in a conservative way to match the industry volatility and is not ruling out further production cuts, in addition to 25 down days planned for first-quarter 2009.

“We’re doing this on a quarter-by-quarter basis, and the only thing I can say about the economy and the industry right now is that it’s volatile,” Reuss tells reporters. “It’s a tough time in the industry, any time you see a 22% drop (in sales) in a month, you really have to react quickly.”

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