The 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show has become a play date for Australian media to grill General Motors executives as to what will become of their local automotive brand, Holden.
So far, from the mouth of GM’s Stefan Jacoby, we’ve had the confirmation of the V8 sedan’s death, no American replacement for the 2016 Chevrolet SS and hot hints suggesting the Corvette program is heading to Oz.
Now, General Motors CEO, Mary Barra, has broken silence on Holden, and shared her thoughts on the tough decisions made.
Barra told Drive a rethinking of Holden manufacturing is out of the question, despite it being a rough process, the value of the Australian currency falling and other GM executives admitting they may have underestimated the impacts of the closures.
I’m not in the business of predicting the future. When I look at it now and the conditions, we made a difficult but important decision to maintain a vibrant Holden brand and profitability over the long term. That’s what we’re focussed on. Beyond predicting the future that’s the current assessment, nothing’s changed and that’s where we’re at in executing it.
When pressed on what will create the “vibrant” Holden brand she envisions, she shared her thoughts saying, “the right products, the right ownership experience and the right [approach] to market – all aspects of the business and that’s what the team there is working on.”
She also admitted the process for bringing world-class global vehicles to the brand has been mediocre, and promised to streamline, and fix that problem.
“I think you’ll see a much more planned and very proactive view of how we do it, because when you engineer a vehicle we know from the beginning that’s what we’re going to do, it’s much easier than re-engineering it. You will see an improvement, for sure.”
“Holden is an important brand to the company, it is something that will continue to be and something we will invest in,” she said.
“There is very technical design and talent and we’re leveraging that where it continues to make sense for them as part of the global team.”