We’re not sure if Australia as a whole, industry analysts, or the collective amount of automotive journalists ever felt Guido Dumarey would succeed in purchasing Holden’s Elizabeth factory to continue producing Zeta-based Commodore, but damn, it would have been a good story.
And that’s what we want to hear. We put every ounce of our beliefs in Dumarey, because we all love an underdog, and we want him to succeed against the odds to save a slice of Holden and the vehicles it has produced. Unfortunately, the buck stops here.
Wheels reports Dumarey has officially retracted his bid to purchase the South Australian manufacturing facility after recently beginning talks with General Motors.
Dumarey’s corporation, Punch Powertrain, and General Motors have issued a joint statement on the matter. It reads as follows:
General Motors and Punch Corporation have undertaken and completed a detailed global evaluation of a proposal from Punch Corporation to continue manufacturing vehicles at Holden’s Elizabeth plant in South Australia.
Both parties concluded that a viable business model was not possible for this case. Therefore the proposal will not be taken forward.
GM and Punch have communicated on this decision.
As discussions have been governed by a Non-Disclosure Agreement, neither party involved is able to discuss details of the proposal, nor the assessment.
The challenges to domestic automotive manufacturing in Australia – lack of scale, high production costs, supply base contraction and increasing market fragmentation – persist and cannot be overcome for this business case.
In particular, the wind down of the supply base following the manufacturing exit of the three existing car makers, and the critical production mass they represent, is insurmountable.
GM thanks Punch Corporation for their proposal. GM will continue to consider Punch Corporation, along with other interested parties, to participate in the sale process of the Elizabeth plant and assets after GM ceases local manufacturing.
Punch Corporation will continue to pursue other business opportunities in the Australian automotive sector.
The Australian government had thrown every bit of support behind Dumarey, and the man himself seemed to be particularly optimistic about the situation, making the news seem a tad abrupt.
Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said he was “surprised and disappointed” by the decision.
“It [the decision to exit talks] does not match the statements both Punch and GM have made to me,” he said. “The government offered every support to Punch in every matter that they raised with us.”
Holden will cease manufacturing locally towards the end of 2017 with the VF Commodore Series II.