Four-Cylinder Holden is Bad News for Thailand

GM/Holden is to take advantage of a Federal Government AUS$6 billion car plan, and build a four-cylinder car in Australia starting in 2010. The car is to be based on the Chevrolet Cruze, a global car that GM hopes will help to turn things around.

This is great news for Australia with the creation of more than 1000 jobs by the third quarter of 2010. But it is potentially bad news for the Thai industry. Why? Well, currently several Holden models are built in Thailand. Holden cars are basically re-badged Chevrolet vehicles, several of which are currently built in Thailand and exported to other markets including Australia. Now, it seems that things could be shifting the other way.

The Chevrolet Optra will be replaced by a Chevrolet Cruze based vehicle. The Optra is currently built in Indonesia.

Ford Australia will also begin building the Focus small car in Australia from 2011. Currently the Focus is built in the Philippines.

There has been some speculation that both Ford and Chevrolet could move additional production to Thailand, to include the Focus and Optra/Cruze respectively. In that case, Australia would have been a major export market for both cars, but now with production shifting to Australia, Thailand could lose out.