General Motors has decided to pull out of Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand as part of a strategy to exit markets that don't produce adequate returns on investments. The move raised dismay Monday from officials concerned over job losses, the AP reports. The company said in a statement Sunday that it plans to wind down sales, engineering, and design operations for its historic Holden brand in Australia and New Zealand in 2021. It also plans to sell its Rayong factory in Thailand to China's Great Wall Motors and withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of this year.
"This is a very disappointing outcome," said Karen Andrews, Australia's minister for Industry, Science and Technology. She said it was unfortunate both because about 500 workers would lose their jobs, but also because "they only advised the government of this decision just before the announcement." GM's CEO, Mary Barra, said the company wants to focus on markets where it can drive strong returns, scaling back operations in Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand to selling imported, high-end niche specialty vehicles. GM will support its employees and customers in the transition, she said. GM is making similar moves in Japan, Russia, and Europe, where "we don't have significant scale," she said.
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