First it was Citroën now General Motors (GM) has today announced that they too will be pulling out of South Africa. In a press conference held in Port Elizabeth on Thursday morning the local wing of the US-based manufacturer announced that they intend to cease the local manufacturing and selling of Chevrolet vehicles in the domestic market by the end of 2017.
With this announcement it was also revealed that Isuzu Motors intends to purchase GM’s South African light commercial vehicle manufacturing operations and strengthen its presence in the market. Isuzu also intends to set up 90 dealerships around the country to provide both parts and servicing for existing GM customers – all GM-made models will be supported going forward.
“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,” said Stefan Jacoby, GM executive vice president and president of GM International. “We determined that continued or increased investment in manufacturing in South Africa would not provide GM the expected returns of other global investment opportunities.”
Opel is still something of a grey area at the moment as it was recently sold to the French-owned PSA group. However, and according to the official press release, “GM continues to work with PSA to evaluate future opportunity for the Opel brand in South Africa.”
“These decisions were not made lightly,” concluded GM South Africa President and Managing Director Ian Nicholls. “We appreciate the support that our employees, customers, dealers, suppliers, the government and other key stakeholders have given us over the many years that we have operated in this country. We will manage the transition as smoothly as possible.” – Thomas Falkiner