Holden To Re-jig Production Shifts As Exports Soften, Some Casual Jobs To Go

Mike Stevens | Feb 2, 2012

Holden has announced that the General Assembly line at its Adelaide manufacturing plant will move to a single shift in May.

The move will see the loss up to 100 temporary and casual contractors, but with no voluntary or forced redundancies for permanent Holden employees.

The new shift pattern will see the carmaker move to a new 60-second production cycle, allowing for production to stay at around 400 vehicles per day.

Speaking with The Advertiser, Holden boss Mike Devereux said that the company will produce 90,000 cars in 2012, with the high Australian dollar putting a stopper on the company's forecasts for growth in its export program.

"We had a plan to make 460 cars a day ... that was the capacity of the plant. We have been ranging from 430 to 450 cars a day," Mr Devereux told the News Ltd paper.

He added that while the current exchange rate will stop the carmaker realising further export growth, "the shift changes allow us to maintain production levels and do it more efficiently".

In a statement today, Mr Devereux said the new shift pattern has been designed to minimise impact on permanent employees, and no voluntary or forced redundancies for those workers are expected.

“Holden currently draws on a small pool of fixed term contractors and casual labour to help manage peaks and troughs in production, and these will be gradually reduced over the next 12 months."

Mr Devereux said that the change to General Assembly is necessary if Holden is to remain competitive on the global stage.

“Holden has set a very clear business strategy to grow sustainably, lower its cost base and make a small car in Elizabeth to ensure we are profitable on domestic production,” he said.

“Our results show what a success this has been for the industry. In 2011 Holden made around 90,000 vehicles, up more than 35 percent or 24,000 units compared to the previous year, with the growth driven largely by the Cruze hatch and sedan.”

As Holden moves to get its headcount and production aligned, it is clear that the company expects continued growth in Cruze sales, but with Commodore sales to continue to trend down.

While Cruze sales in 2011 were up 19.2 percent on 2010, the Commodore sedan lost top spot in passenger car sales in 2011, with 40,617 sales, compared to 45,956 sales for 2010 - a decline of 11.6 percent.

The trend to smaller cars, and the success of the Cruze, will likely see its production increase, taking its share of the assembly line out of Commodore numbers.

Holden boss Devereux will be speaking with media at 10:00am today. Watch this space.

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Filed under: Featured, Holden, manufacturing, adelaide, News, job cuts, industry, export programs

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