SUNDAY TIMES - General Motors is leaving South Africa
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Sunday Times Business By Robert Laing, 2017-05-18 12:12:28.0

General Motors is leaving South Africa

Employees work on a Chevrolet Beat car on an assembly line at a General Motors plant. File Photo.
Image: Danish Siddiqui REUTERS

General Motors (GM) informed employees and unions on Thursday morning that it is quitting South Africa.

Besides its light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations in Struandale‚ Port Elizabeth‚ which it was selling to Isuzu‚ the US car maker intended to cease its South African operations by the end of 2017‚ GM said on its website.

The announcement of its exit from SA and India on Thursday followed a March 5 announcement that GM was exiting Europe by selling its Opel brand to the French maker of Peugeot and Citroën‚ PSA for $2.3bn.

"After a thorough assessment of our South African operations‚ we believe it is best for Isuzu to integrate our light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations into its African business‚" GM’s vice-president of its international operations‚ Stefan Jacoby‚ said in a statement on Thursday morning.

"We determined that continued or increased investment in manufacturing in SA would not provide GM the expected returns of other global investment opportunities."

GM South Africa committed to continuing to provide service and parts support for Chevrolet customers.

GM South Africa informed employees and unions of the announcements this morning and will begin the formal consultation process with them immediately.

"GM South Africa will also work closely with affected dealers on a robust transition plan. Customer support center resources will be expanded and all warranties and service agreements as well as ongoing service and parts requirements for all vehicles will continue to be honoured."

The home page of GM SA’s website on Thursday morning was changed to a frequently asked questions site for owners of its Chevrolet and Opel brands.

The answer to the question‚ "What does this mean for me?" is: "If you are an Isuzu‚ Chevrolet or Opel owner ongoing aftersales and parts support will continue through the existing GM dealer network to the end of 2017. All existing warranties and service plans remain in place and will be honoured beyond 2017.

"From 2018‚ Isuzu dealers will provide aftersales and service support to Chevrolet and Opel customers until the details of our discussions with PSA have been finalised."

 GM said in its statement that Isuzu would purchase GM’s Struandale plant and its remaining 30% in Isuzu Truck SA‚ with sales through a national dealer network. Isuzu will also purchase GM’s vehicle conversion and distribution centre and assume control of the parts distribution centre.

– TMG Digital/BusinessLIVE