General Motors' two wholly owned subsidiary operations in Australia, Saab Automobile Australia Pty Ltd (SAA) and Holden Ltd, today announced they would integrate into a single business entity from 1 January 2005.
The local integration, which is consistent with General Motors' approach around the world with Saab operations, will achieve savings through economies of scale and common back office systems such as finance, information systems and fleet management.
The integrated organisation, Holden Ltd, will be housed next year in Holden's new headquarters in Port Melbourne, construction of which will be completed in the first half of 2005.
An exclusive Saab brand team will operate sales, aftersales, marketing and public relations functions for Saab. The integration will be invisible to customers and have no impact on customer, sales, service and warranty operations.
The integration, plans for which have been discussed publicly for more than a year, was confirmed today by Holden Executive Director Sales and Marketing, Ross McKenzie, and SAA Managing Director, Tony Jennett.
It follows similar approaches in other markets, following GM's decision to take full ownership of the global Saab operation in January, 2000, having acquired a 50% stake in Saab in 1990.
"This integration has a simple reward - business as usual outside with efficiency and effectiveness gains inside," Mr McKenzie said.
"The integration will help both brands to prosper while remaining independent in day-to-day operations. This is a commonsense decision with clear outcomes and benefits."
Mr Jennett said the efficiencies would help grow the Saab brand in Australia and New Zealand as Saab would remain a distinct operation within the new entity.
"An exclusive Saab brand team able to leverage the strengths of General Motors in this region will support Saab's prosperity. Importantly, there will be additional resource and opportunity to increase levels of sales, servicing and warranty for Saab customers," Mr Jennett said.
Mr Jennett said the new structure would expand opportunities for Saab employees. Saab employees will be given first consideration for positions within the new structure, which will be finalised later this year.
(Sept 7, 2004)