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TMR Team | May, 08 2013 | 4 Comments

Holden has announced a net loss of $152.8 million for the 2012 financial year, pointing to recent restructuring and stiff competition in the Australian market as driving factors.

The carmaker's consolidated revenue fell to $4.0 billion in 2012 - down from $4.3b in 2011 - thanks to lower demand for its locally-built Commodore and Cruze, and the void in Colorado availability before the new model launched.

Australia's high dollar has also wreaked havoc on the company's profitability, with high manufacturing costs putting Holden in a tight spot against its mostly imported rivals.

“Australia is one of the most open and trade-exposed automotive markets anywhere in the world with more than 180 passenger cars to choose from," Holden Chief Financial Officer George Kapitelli said today.

"With the Australian dollar at levels not seen since the early 1980s, this puts particular pressure on our Australian manufacturing operations."

Mr Kapitelli's comments follow news in April that Holden would axe 500 jobs from its Australian operations.

The loss also follows a profitable period for the brand, with 2010 yielding a $89.7 million profit, and a $112 million profit in 2011.

It's not all doom-and-gloom for the Australian icon however, with the carmaker offering a growing and profitable import product portfolio and investing in more new technologies.

And, while the outgoing VE Commodore is now in runout sales, the recently updated Cruze has proven popular, displacing Hyundai's new i30 hatch in April to rank as the fourth best-selling small car in the country.

"Underneath these numbers, it’s important to understand that Holden has a strong and healthy balance sheet with zero debt. Holden, and Australia, is still an important driver for GM and our imported portfolio is profitable," Mr Kapitelli said.

"While we have limited opportunity to capitalise on export growth due to the exchange rate, Holden still grew exports last year by 14 per cent. And we’ll continue to focus on profitable exports in 2013 as we launch the top of the range Chevrolet SS to the US."

The carmaker increased its capital spend by around $65 million in preparation for the upcoming VF Commodore and, in 2012, spent $197 million on research and development - boosting R&D investment to over $1 billion in the past five years.

Holden boss Mike Devereux said today that despite these latest numbers, the company is evolving "to suit the times".

“We have restructured our manufacturing operations to improve productivity, reduce structural costs and match production to demand, and at the same time we’re focusing on new products and marketing initiatives to ensure our future competitiveness," Mr Devereux said.

The 2014 VF Commodore goes on sale in Australia later this month. Watch for TMR's launch review.

MORE: Holden VF Calais V unveiled
MORE: Holden VF Commodore SS unveiled

 
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