Australian minister surprised by Holden closure

Australian minister surprised by Holden closure

SYDNEY - An Australian minister has vowed to "get to the bottom" of a dropped takeover plan for a Holden car assembly plant in Adelaide that would have kept the factory open.

Holden's parent company, General Motors, said in a statement on Friday that a proposal by Punch Corporation, owned by Belgian entrepreneur Guido Dumarey, to keep the plant in the South Australian capital open would not proceed.

"Both parties concluded that a viable business model was not possible for this case," GM said in the statement.

Australian Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, whose electorate includes part of Adelaide, issued a statement to say the announcement took him by surprise.

"It does not match the statements both Punch and (GM Holden) have made to me," Pyne's statement said.

He told Australia's Sky News on Saturday that he will "get to the bottom of why they prematurely decided not to pursue that option".

The decision means that 400 jobs will be lost at the plant in October, when GM ceases local production of the Cruze model.

The job losses had been flagged for years, Holden said in a separate statement on Friday.

"The eventual end of Cruze production was first forecast in 2014, after Holden announced it would cease manufacturing in Australia in late 2017," the statement said.

The Adelaide plant will continue to make Holden's Commodore range of cars until the end of 2017, it said.

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