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Holden pulls plug, hits Samoa exports

2000 jobs on the line

As Australia’s car manufacturing took a new twist last month with the announcement of an imminent closure of Holden brand name from 2017, shivers were being sent through to Samoa where a parts manufacturer was weighing up its chances of survival.

Not long after the Abbott government began its slash and burn policy of removing protection to ailing industries, Australia’s multi-million dollar United States-owned Holden motor group decided to wind up its operations in three years. In South Australia, 2900 workers would lose their jobs right away when Holden quits manufacturing in 2017, and there are fears that Toyota could follow Holden and Ford and pull out of Australia.

But worse still, component manufacturers that supply Holden, Ford and Toyota and who now face a bleak and uncertain future with two of the three car makers pulling out, could create job vacancies as well. Abbott blamed rising Australia dollar hovering at US$0.95 cents and the old Labor government’s policies for the departure of Holden—owned by General Motors of Detroit in the United States. “It is tragic and the last thing anyone would want. All of the workers concerned will be treated generously by their employers. I believe there are fundamental economic strengths in Adelaide and Victoria.”

Samoa’s economy biggest hit

Soon after Holden’s departure, the Japanese automotive components giant Yazaki Corporation—which supplies parts to Holden and Toyota—warned the economy of Samoa would be decimated without exports to Australia. Yazaki owns Australian Arrow, a large business outfit in Samoa that manufactures and supplies electrical wiring and harnesses to Holden and Toyota in Australia. The Samoa factory makes some of the parts before they are re-assembled in plants in Victoria.



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