After having received more than $2 billion in subsidies from, the Australian government in the past 12 years, GM’s down-under Holden unit announced that it will lay off another 500 workers in response to falling demand and the high Australian dollar, Australia’s ABC News reports.
Cheaper imports draw customers away from Holden’s locally made Cruze and Commodore models, the company says.
Holden’s managing director, Mike Devereux, lays the blame for much of the Australian dollar’s appreciation at the feet of nations, such as the US and Japan, that have been deliberately devaluing their currencies. “Importantly, the currency plays being made by other countries mean that were are not competing on a level playing field, not even in our own backyard,” Devereux said.
A high Australian dollar makes imports cheaper and exports unattractive. When quizzed about the future survival of Holden’s Australian production and design operations, Devereux said the company was committed to staying in Australia but could offer no guarantees.