Holden’s US owner General Motors (GM) has announced a massive global restructure that will see factories cease production and as many as 14,000 jobs cut.
GM on Tuesday morning (Australian time) said it will close five car plants in North America, three offshore facilities and slash salaries by the end of next year.
Touted as America’s largest automaker, General Motors expects to save US$6 billion ($8.3 billion) from the cutbacks, citing a slump in car sales and rising costs as their reasons for the layoffs.
Those cuts are in addition to $US6.5 billion ($9 billion) that the company has announced by the end of this year.
The reduction includes 8100 white-collar workers, some of whom will take buyouts and others who will be laid off.
At the North American factories, 3000 workers could lose jobs in Canada and another 3600 in the US.
The closures outside North America includes a South Korean factory that had been previously been flagged to cease production.
Also, about 15 per cent of GM’s North American workforce, comprising 54,000 workers, will have their salaries cut.
GM chair and chief executive Mary Barra said its actions would help make the company “highly agile, resilient and profitable” and allow it to “get in front of” a possible economic downturn.
“We recognise the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success,” she said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was deeply disappointed in the closure of the century-old Canadian GM plant, and would help redundant workers “get back on their feet”.
US Senator Sherrod Brown, labelled its actions as “corporate greed at its worst”.
Labour leaders at the Oshawa factory in Canada said they do not accept the closure of the plant and will campaign for continued operations, saying in a letter cited by BBC “our plant has been in this situation before with no product on the horizon”.
GM officially closed Holden on October 20 last year after more than 60 years of local manufacturing, effectively wiping out about 50,000 Australian jobs.
GM on Tuesday said some US workers would transfer to truck and SUV plants where GM is increasing output.
The company is the largest automaker in the US and includes the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC brands.
Barra said GM is still hiring people with expertise in software and electric and autonomous vehicles, and many of those who will lose their jobs are now working on conventional cars with internal combustion engines.
Barra said the industry is changing rapidly and moving toward electric propulsion, autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing, and GM must adjust with it.