Tony O'Kane | Apr 28, 2009

While General Motors' decision to bin Pontiac will have an undoubtedly profound effect on its US operations and employees, the ripples of GM's announcement are already being felt here in Australia.

As the sole manufacturer of the Pontiac G8 sports sedan (essentially an SS Commodore in LHD clothing), Holden will lose a potentially huge export market when Pontiac closes up shop.

The G8 line will be phased out by the end of this year, however Holden spokesman Scott Whiffin assures us that Pontiac's closure will have no effect on local jobs.

"G8’s are assembled at our plant at Elizabeth SA where we have been modifying our production volumes and we will continue to do so," Whiffin said.

"Notwithstanding the fact that this has only just been announced, we don’t envisage there will be any job losses at Elizabeth as a result of this decision."

2009 Pontiac G8 GXP

Despite receiving critical acclaim from American motoring scribes, G8 sales got off to a suprisingly slow start. Last month's sales were, however, the G8's best and the loss of an export market potentially worth $1 billion will surely leave Holden smarting.

To compensate, Holden will be examining what opportunities may exist in other export markets; with China, the Middle East and South Korea being current export destinations that may hold further riches for Holden.

The Commodore could eventually find its way back to the USA badged as a Chevy too (it's currently sold in the Middle East as the Chevy Lumina), however Whiffin says it's too early to speculate on whether this will be the case.

GM's Bob Lutz has said in the past that the only Zeta-platformed car that will remain on sale in the US into the next century is the Chevrolet Camaro, but hey, economic crises certainly have a way of "restructuring" product plans.

Holden Commodore production

So while Pontiac aficionados may weep, Holden fans (and Holden employees) can rest easy for now.

Holden forecast last year that G8 sales would go down the tube once the economic crisis hit, and thanks to its savvy production re-alignment (G8 production is now "essentially zero") Holden's line workers will hardly notice the difference now that Pontiac is gone.

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