GM Holden added another vehicle to its growing export program today with the announcement that full production of the Pontiac G8 for the US market was now underway. The introduction of the Pontiac G8 represents a significant milestone for GM Holden as it brings the mix of vehicles produced at the Elizabeth manufacturing plant in Adelaide to a 50-50 split of export and domestic production.

It also ensures the Elizabeth production line will now be running at its full production capacity of 620 cars a day, which equates to one car off the line every 76 seconds. GM Holden marked the start of the G8 export program today with a VIP event at Holden Vehicle Operations in Adelaide.

The event was attended by the new Federal Industry Minister, the Hon Simon Crean MP, who was joined by the Hon Kevin Foley, Acting Premier of South Australia and the Hon Theo Theophanous, Victorian Minister for Industry and Trade.

The Pontiac G8 goes on sale in the US in the first quarter of next year and is the biggest of three new export programs announced in 2007 by GM Holden, the others being to Korea and the Middle East.

Speaking at Elizabeth today, GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Chris Gubbey said that exports were crucial to the company’s future prosperity. “For 60 years, we have been producing world class vehicles primarily for the Australian market. That market has developed into one of the most crowded in the world with almost fifty brands now competing for a share of only a million new vehicles annually.

“GM has recognised Holden’s expertise and has entrusted the design and engineering of the Group’s large rear-wheel drive cars to us. This commitment is seeing us develop our exports which we see as a vital part of our business model going forward.

“The results are already evident. Vehicles are now rolling off the production line here at Elizabeth for export under internationally recognised brand names of Holden, Vauxhall, Chevrolet and now Pontiac. Next year, with our exports to Korea, we will add Daewoo to that list,” he said.

The flexibility of the Elizabeth plant and its workforce has been a key element in expanding GM Holden’s export program.

“In the last few years, over $500 million has been invested in upgrading the plant at Elizabeth giving GM Holden of the most flexible plants in the GM group,” said Chris Gubbey.

“This investment has enabled us to remain competitive and means we can achieve a diverse mix of models, both left hand and right hand drive, for markets around the world.”

Chris Gubbey also acknowledged the support given to GM Holden from successive Federal and State Governments that has assisted the organisation in successfully achieving the transition from primarily a domestic car company to a truly global manufacturer.

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